Friday, September 02, 2016

Holding Down The Price Of Life-Saving Drugs-- Hillary's For It... The GOP Is NOT


I've been a big Clinton detractor and I don't plan to vote for her in November. That said, it's important to recognize the difference between her approach to the runaway prices of pharmaceuticals and Trump's approach. Trump doesn't seem intellectually capable of understanding the problem beyond a single incident and his "team" is ideologically bogged down to the extent of incapacity to recognize the systemic problem of monopoly. Hillary's plan to hold down drug prices is well-thought out and effective and very bold. Obama caved to the power of the pharmaceutical lobby immediately and without a battle, mortally wounding what could have been a good Affordable Care Act and leaving us with an unworkable, shaky platform that has to be gutted. Hillary's plan doesn't deal with that, of course, but the idea that the executive branch reasserts it's anti-trust power to set limits on monopolies and take action when drug companies act against the public interest is HUGE.

Reuters reported her plan top address unjustified price hikes early this morning. It's based on creating "an oversight panel to protect U.S. consumers from price hikes on life-saving drugs and import alternative treatments if necessary... [with] "an aggressive new set of enforcement tools." The panel will be able to "levy fines and impose penalties on manufacturers when there has been an 'unjustified, outlier price increase' on a long-available drug." Hillary: "Over the past year, we've seen far too many examples of drug companies raising prices excessively for long-standing, life-saving treatments with little or no new innovation or R&D."
The oversight panel would be made up of representatives from existing public health and consumer protection agencies who convene to examine the scope of a drug increase, the manufacturer’s production cost and the treatment’s relative value to patients and public health, Clinton’s campaign said.

In cases where a determined unjustified price hike is accompanied by insufficient market competition, Clinton’s administration would intervene to purchase alternative drugs from comparably regulated markets or assist manufacturers in bringing the product to market in the United States.

Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, called it a “bold idea” to get the federal government “involved in helping stabilizing some of these generic drug markets.”

Until recently, there was a lengthy wait for generic drug approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Although the time line has shortened, there is often not enough consistent demand for manufacturers to enter the U.S. market, Kesselheim said.

“Having the government get involved as a long-term purchaser of these products creates a stockpile to stabilize the market,” Kesselheim said.

Kesselheim has testified before Congress about high-cost generic and long-available drugs and spoke to Clinton’s campaign about his research as it developed its proposal.

...If Clinton defeats Republican Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 election, she will need the support of the U.S. Congress to implement key measures she has proposed, such as levying fines on manufacturers responsible for unjustified price hikes.

Lawmakers have in the past resisted efforts to introduce controls on pharmaceutical prices.
Goal Thermometer This plan of Hillary's is music to the ears of the Blue America-endorsed candidates, all of whom have already been campaigning on the issue of unfair price hikes eating away at the buying power of people on fixed incomes. I called Mary Hoeft up in northern Wisconsin this morning as soon as I heard about Hillary's plan. She told me that she was standing in a parking lot, "gathering signatures needed to place my name on the ballot. I saw that I was being watched by an elderly man in a beaten up car. He rolled his window down and asked, 'Lady, what ya doin?' I said, 'Getting signatures to run for Congress.'  He asked, 'What ya gonna do for my friend Ann?' I said, 'Tell me about Ann.' He said, 'She's 26 with two little boys and she's gonna die cuz she can't pay for her cancer prescription.'  Annually, prescriptions to treat cancer have soared from $10,000 to $100,000. I support a plan that would authorize Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. My opponent, Sean Duffy, has no plan other than scrapping the Affordable Care Act. His concern is Big Money-- not Ann or her sons."

Like Hoeft, Mary Ellen Balchunis is running against a garden variety Republican enabler of Big Pharma, Pat Meehan. Since Meehan was elected in 2010 has has taken $250,510 in legalistic bribes from the drug manufacturers. This year alone, they have armed him with $78,010 to use against Balchunis. A university political science professor and a friend of Hillary Clinton's, she told us this morning that she is "happy to see that Secretary Clinton has prioritized patients over profits. When nine of the ten largest pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing than research and development, there is a clear need for a consumer advocate in the industry. If elected I pledge to be a loud and persistent voice for a stable and affordable prescription drug market."

A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation released yesterday finds that more voters trust Hillary Clinton to do a better job dealing with health care issues than trust Donald Trump, although few believe their own ability to access affordable health care would get better regardless of which candidate is elected. Voters, age 65 and older, are split between which candidate they trust to do a better job dealing with the future of Medicare with a similar share saying they trust Trump (44%) as say they trust Clinton (47%). And 66% of voters say they believe the future of Medicare should be a top priority for the presidential candidates-- with another 28% saying it should be an important priority. That comes to 94% of the voters-- across party lines. 51% of voters say they trust Hillary to deal with prescription drug prices more and 39% say they trust Señor Trumpanzee on the issue. They must be completely crazy.

You'll have to click on the image to make any sense of it

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At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another Hillary campaign promise (read: LIE) to try to attract enough votes to ensure that Drumpf doesn't defeat her. Wall St isn't about to let her force the drug manufacturers to have to report lower profits! Why, that would adversely affect their portfolios! They didn't pay her to blather at them for an hour at a time for ridiculous remuneration to actually have to PAY for their greed! They will ensure that she doesn't affect their net worths no matter what it takes. I'm sure they have a copy of the Grassy Knoll film to remind her of their power.

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We sure as hell better hope that she defeats him, regardless of how much she is disliked. Of course she is trying to get votes - that is what politicians do. Trump does not even mouth anything reasonable whereas at least she does, although as said above, who knows if she will hold fast or whether Congress will let her get anything done. Still, she is no fool and does have a background of caring for people, whereas Trump has a long track record of not giving a hoot about anyone but himself. Hey, he took health insurance away from his cousin's ill infant just for spite! He is a VERY disturbed unstable individual and his narcissism is paramount. Yes, she is a corporate shill, but what is he? He does not care about people, this country or democracy. He is one sick dude.


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