Monday, August 23, 1993
Thoughts as the dog days of summer begin to wind down:
While the specter of mandatory drug price controls seems to be evaporating from President Clinton's health plan, a government watchdog on pricing decisions looks to be in the cards. The optimistic scenario is that the watchdog will be armed only with a jawbone, which it would wave around if it found self-restraint lacking among the drug companies. Of course, anything can happen once Congress gets hold of the idea. Biotech companies will want to monitor the permutations closely because, at the least, the reporting requirements will raise the cost of drug development.
(Rep. Richard Durbin's proposed Prescription Drug Price Review Board is worth reviewing for the types of pricing measures, manufacturer obligations, and tests for new drugs that could become part of such an enforcement mechanism. See BioCentury #15 March 29, #16 April 5 and #22 May 10 for the Durbin stories.)