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Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

Pharmaceutical Drug Costs in the United States: Pathways to Increased Affordability

The United States spends much more of itsí GDP on Health Care than any other country. This ever-growing trend can be curtailed by reducing the exponentially increasing cost of pharmaceutical drugs. Even as Big Pharma promises to support the effort by Congress to fix health care; the industry is raising its prices faster than it has in years. In an attempt to maximize profits, Big Pharma raised wholesale prices of brand name drugs by nine percent in 2009. With this increase, the nationís pharmaceutical bill is expected to top $300 billion in 2010. Big Pharma has recently come to terms with a plan with the White House and the Senate Finance Committee which would cut $8 billion per year for ten years from the nationís drug costs. However, the drug price increases, in effect, cancels out this provision. Some suggest it is easier for Big Pharma to give up $80 billion because they will be making much more than they stand to lose. Through passage of the healthcare bill, Big Pharma stands to gain about 30,000,000 new customers. At the same time the government must seek to promote value and savings in order to deliver high quality health care to all Americans. However, in lessening the power, influence and ultimately, prices of the pharmaceutical companies; the United States may actually cause the retreat of medical research as a majority of pharmaceutical profits are used for additional research and development of the next medical miracle. Through research the presenter has developed potential solutions to the ever-increasing costs of pharmaceutical drugs in the United States. The implications for the implementation of these measures are largely untested and unknown. Many of the solutions others and this paper propose are based on countries and rules that are unlike the United States system. This makes any restrictions difficult to pass due to the possible risks it poses to our innovative system.

Presenter: Jeremy Grant (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Political Science
Location: 106 Holmes
Time: 2:45 pm (Session IV)