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The only reason that the government can’t negotiate drugs prices directly with manufacturers is the political power of the pharmaceutical industry.

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist In Favor

Current law doesn’t allow government officials to meet with drug companies privately to discuss prices, which would be needed for negotiations but would raise concerns about backroom deals. Medicare isn’t allowed to limit the number of drugs on its formulary (the available list of drugs) for several diseases where many doctors believe patients must have access to a variety of drugs. Unless Medicare could promise to favor some drugs over others, it would lack the leverage to negotiate for lower prices. 

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist Against

Medicare spends more than $150 billion on drugs, and negotiating drug prices would save money that could be used for other services.

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist In Favor

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has repeatedly said that the government wouldn’t be able to negotiate better prices.

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist Against

The federal government is the largest single payer in the US and should use its bargaining power to get the best prices on drugs.

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist In Favor

There already is plenty of successful negotiation happening for drugs on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries, but it’s done by private companies. The Medicare drug benefit (Part D) is very popular and has come in at much lower cost than projected. This shows conclusively that private companies can negotiate better drug prices than the government can.

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist Against

If the government insisted on a lower price, it’s such a big customer that drug companies would have to accept it.

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist In Favor

If a company doesn’t accept a government price, Medicare patients couldn’t get that drug. The government can’t make that hard choice due to pressures from patients and doctors. 

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist Against

Medicare typically gets better prices than do private insurers on hospital and physician services. It can and should do the same with drugs. 

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist In Favor

Most regions have multiple doctors and hospitals available, and if some didn’t accept government rates, patients could go elsewhere to get covered services. In contrast, many drugs have patents that allow only one company to make them. The government gets better prices with providers because it has much more leverage with them than it does with drug companies. 

Zetema PanelistZetema Panelist Against

What do you think?

Should the government negotiate prices directly with drug companies?

Should the government negotiate prices directly with drug companies?

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