Are drug prices justified?

Peter Bach • AUGUST 4, 2015

Peter Bach of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center discusses the peculiarities in the way in which drugs are priced in the United States. According to Bach, although the pharmaceutical industry can and does provide new and improved drugs, consumers are paying more for each unit of benefit. The arguments used to justify drug prices do not always stand up to scrutiny, argues Bach. Drugs are priced not by what the market will bear in a traditional economic sense, and the appropriate forces that would put downward pressure on prices do not exist. Bach argues that it is a failure of our system when patients who could benefit from a drug do not take that drug because of the price. Better pricing models, such as indication-specific pricing should be considered.

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