Prescription for Cheaper Drugs Contested

A battle is brewing over letting Medicare negotiate over drug prices, a power some doctors say is needed to curb high drug prices and opponents argue is unnecessary.

Advocates say that providing Medicare negotiating power would lead to lower prices on breakthrough treatments, which could strain federal and state budgets if prices aren’t reduced. The pharmaceutical industry and a healthcare transparency organization say it won’t save money because private-sector organizations already negotiate for lower prices.

More than 100 cancer experts earlier this week called for policy reforms to combat rising prices for cancer drugs, some of which can cost $120,000 per year.

A study released by the advocacy group Public Citizen also found that Medicare pays much more than Medicaid or Veterans Affairs for brand-name drugs.