Caleb Watney and Heidi Williams’ Wednesday, August 24 op-ed commentary, “Drug pricing reforms can hurt innovation,” came as a surprise. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the new Climate Change and Drugs Act will result in about 15 fewer new drugs entering the market, compared to an expected 1,300 new drugs, a reduction of about 1%. Lower prices should help millions more people afford to fill the prescriptions they get.
The authors proposed new spending for this highly profitable industry to increase drug innovation. Instead, how about two simple, quick and affordable changes: limiting the pharmaceutical industry’s use of the research and development tax credit only to research on drugs that, according to the Food and Drug Administration, are much needed breakthroughs; and double that credit, but pay for it by eliminating the drug advertising tax deduction that is so flooding the airwaves.
Bill Vaughan, Church of the Falls
While I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of the Wednesday August 24 Opinion Commentary by Caleb Watney and Heidi Williams, I disagree with the expectation that the government will “negotiate” prices, National Institutes of Health choosing winners and losers, changing patent law, or building a better NIH. solve the drug pricing dilemma. Likewise, I doubt that pharmaceutical companies choose their options based primarily on altruism.
I humbly suggest that the price of more expensive drugs in the United States be set at about 1½ times the average price offered by pharmaceutical companies to the rest of the world or at a price equal to a basket of industrialized countries or a similar formula that prevents Americans to support other health care systems, adapts to market realities and incentives, and prevents government and industry from exercising undue control.
Mervyn L. Goldstein, Rockville