Ensuring Transparency and Accountability in Drug Pricing
Last year, the Inflation Reduction Act was passed by the House and Senate, sparking concerns among many constituents about the Biden administration’s policy changes. One key area of concern is drug pricing, as the government now has the power to dictate the prices Medicare will pay for drugs.
The implications of this change are significant. Seniors will be greatly affected, access to crucial drugs may be influenced, and drug makers will experience an impact on their bottom line. However, questions have arisen about the transparency of the new “Drug Pricing Negotiation Program.”
Transparency Questions Surrounding Drug Pricing
As the implementation of the drug pricing program begins, doubts persist about the transparency and neutrality of the process. Skeptics remain uncertain whether the Biden administration is truly committed to an open and transparent approach.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced the first ten drugs that will be subject to price controls, but concerns have been raised regarding who will be involved in determining these prices. The lack of clarity around this issue opens the door to potential conflicts of interest.
Conflicts of Interest and Hidden Agendas
Kristi Martin, a senior advisor at CMS, is leading the staffing process for the price control program. However, her previous affiliations with organizations such as Waxman Strategies and Arnold Ventures raise eyebrows due to their conflicting interests.
Waxman Strategies has advocated for hospital interests, while Arnold Ventures has challenged intellectual property rights crucial to research and development for breakthrough treatments. These conflicting interests raise questions about whether the program’s focus has shifted towards an activist agenda rather than prioritizing patient interests.
The potential for conflicts of interest is not limited to CMS. A comprehensive investigation by the Wall Street Journal revealed that over 2,500 federal employees held stock portfolios that included shares in companies actively lobbying their agencies. This raises concerns about financial impropriety and hidden agendas.
Transparency in Patient-Focused Aspects
The selection process for the initial ten drugs subject to price controls was clouded in mystery, leaving many questions unanswered. How CMS defines and calculates “medical need” and the procedures used to determine research and development costs remain unclear.
Furthermore, CMS hosted listening sessions for patients and concerned groups to provide input on the impacted drugs, but concerns were raised about the presence of individuals with political ties to President Biden and Democratic campaigns who spoke without disclosing their conflicts of interest. Recognized patient groups also found the registration and commenting procedures to be restrictive and confusing.
CMS must prioritize the voice of the Americans most affected by the Inflation Reduction Act‘s rules and ensure accountability to avoid conflicts of interest. The implementation of the act should prioritize patient interests over bureaucratic processes, lobbyists, and activists. Lives are at stake.
Drew Johnson is a Las Vegas-based policy analyst, government watchdog, and columnist. He is a candidate for Congress in Nevada’s 3rd congressional district.
Read More of this Story at www.realclearhealth.com – 2023-12-14 11:40:33
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