DRUG COVERAGE: Enough to Go Around, Researcher Says
Even while one-quarter of Americans don't have prescription drug coverage, "[t]here is enough spent on prescription medicines to cover the country's entire needs," according to a new study by Boston University's Alan Sager. Sager said that "[i]f drug companies would increase the amount of medicine they make, reduce the discounts they give to other countries and cut their advertising budgets, there would be enough medications for everyone," the Boston Herald reports. "People are suffering and dying for lack of medication, but we can fix this problem without throwing money at it," said Sager, who calculates that the cost of providing 25% more drugs to U.S. consumers would be $1.25 billion -- a cost he noted could be covered if the drug industry reduced the $1.5 billion it spends on direct-to-consumer advertising. However, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spokesperson Meredith Art said that "[d]rug costs are lower in many other countries because of price controls, which inhibit drug development." And she countered Sager's assertion that "more public health care dollars are spent on drug research" in countries with price controls, noting that drug industry-sponsored research in the U.S. "accounted for 26% of R&D spending worldwide" (Heldt Powell, 7/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.