By Mike Anthony, on page A10 of the Southampton Press:
Makes Sense For All
Dr. David Posnett’s informative letter about House of Representative bill HR3 [“Choosing Sides,” Letters, January 9], see prior post herein, details key elements of Congress’s promise to establish a consumer- and patient-friendly drug price negotiation system. Dr. Posnett aptly captures the gist of the matter in several paragraphs.
My prime takeaway: If the Veterans Administration can negotiate drug prices, why not the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services? High-quality and lower-cost drugs makes sense for all of us.
As Dr. Posnett points out, Congressman Lee Zeldin repeats the canard that “these policies would siphon $1 trillion from biopharmaceutical innovators over the next 10 years.” A cynic might ask: Why don’t the drug companies use some of their robust advertising budget and redirect it to research?
The thing is, you don’t have to be a cynic to think that way. Dr. Marcia Angell reveals how drug companies have strayed from their mission in “The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It.” Here’s an excerpt from the publisher:
“As Dr. Angell powerfully demonstrates, claims that high drug prices are necessary to fund research and development are unfounded. The truth is that drug companies funnel the bulk of their resources into the marketing of products of dubious benefit.”
Any doubt about that? Just ask Purdue Pharma, the company that pleaded guilty to criminal charges of misbranding Oxycontin by claiming that it was less addictive compared to other opioids. Purdue was fined $634 million.
Yes, drug efficacy and safety are as important as pricing — and HR3 covers that as well.
NPR reports that several overseas generic drug manufacturers abuse safety protocols. In India, about 25 percent of inspected drug manufacturing plants violated drug integrity rules; in China, 32 percent of their plants violated these rules.
To guarantee the safe manufacture of drugs, HR 3 provides $920 million to improve regulatory oversight of medical products and to protect public health. And, most important to the East End community, HR3 provides $7.5 billion in funding for states, counties, cities and towns to fight the opioid epidemic.
Contact Congressman Zeldin and ask him to reconsider his opposition to HR3: https://zeldin.house.gov/contact/offices