In January, Doctors for America threw their support behind a misguided policy proposed in the Virginia legislature. Unveiled by Senator Chap Peterson and Delegate Karrie Delaney, the bill would create a “Prescription Drug Affordability Board” with the power to apply government price controls on medication. If passed the five-member group would be appointed by the governor and be required to meet publicly at least four times a year.
It’s true that prescription drug costs are rising at alarming rate, but arbitrary government price controls will fail to solve the underlying problem while at the same time compromising healthcare innovation. Creating new lifesaving treatments, therapies and vaccines requires a boatload of upfront investment. In fact, it’s estimated to cost $2.6 billion to successfully bring a new drug to market.
So, what happens when the government starts price-fixing the product? The incentive and financial feasibility of developing a new drug goes down the toilet. Query: If the government were to cap the price of iPhones at $10, would Apple continue to make them? Of course not.
But regardless of the potential harm posed to the pipeline of new, innovative medicine, Doctors for America continues to push this policy prescription—siding with the far left rather than advocating for a commonsense approach.
Instead of penalizing the companies behind new medicine, policymakers should instead target the root problem of why drug prices have ballooned in cost: Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). PBMs are the middlemen of the drug supply chain, and they use their considerable leverage to pocket billions of dollars a year at the expense of patients.
If Virginia lawmakers—and Doctors for American—really cared about bringing down the cost of medicine, shining a spotlight and implementing oversight over these middlemen would be the priority.