15 Dec The Daily Caller: Forbes Fumbles Facts On Important Drug Discount Program
“I have long been an admirer of Steve Forbes and the vaunted publication founded by his father. No family or periodical has more consistently fought for free market principles. So, I am perplexed by a recent contribution to Fox News in which he commingled the need for market principles and transparency in health care with the 340B drug discount program. Surely, he is not suggesting that a program which helps struggling clinics and hospitals stretch precious resources is the real cause of outrageous drug prices in the United States?
It is tempting to conclude that this is yet another example of the undue influence that big Pharma has as a result of their massive lobbying and advertising budgets. But, I have too much respect for Mr. Forbes to suggest that this would cloud his judgement.
I have written and spoken extensively on some of the issues he raises. I strongly agree with most of his postulates. We do need more market forces to control health care costs. Free markets work every time they are tried. Markets require price transparency and real competition. Neither exists today, especially in pharmaceutical pricing. But, I strongly disagree with his conclusions. By the way, transparency and real competition are the last things the powerful drug industry wants. They have blocked every effort in Congress to require big Pharma to share how they determine prices and they even have blocked efforts to allow purchasers in the 340B program to verify that they are not being overcharged.”