Prescription Medication - Dr. Kathie Allen for Utah Senate Prescription Medication - Dr. Kathie Allen for Utah Senate

Prescription Medication

As a family doctor, I’ve long thought that there’s too much greed in big pharma, and it’s gotten worse in the last decade. Prescription drugs cost too much, and the people who need them most are usually the people who can afford them least. A single policy won’t fix this problem, but several policies working together will help immensely.

  • Eliminate tax write-offs for direct-to-consumer drug advertising. Better yet, eliminate direct-to-consumer advertising. Only one other country, New Zealand, allows it.
  • Eliminate the 6-month period of exclusivity granted to a single manufacturer to introduce a first generic to the market. Allow every interested manufacturer to compete for generics and let the free market win.
  • Reevaluate the shelf life of drugs. In reality, most are good for 5 years, not 1 year. There’s no need to throw out perfectly good medications.
  • Provide funding to the FDA to reduce and eventually eliminate the backlog of generic drugs in the pipeline for approval.
  • Prohibit brand-name companies from buying off the launch of generic versions of their drugs.
  • Allow reimportation of drugs from cheaper countries and adopt transparency as to the cost of American drugs in other nations.
  • Allow price negotiation for government programs.
  • Close the Medicare donut hole now.
  • Exact stronger penalties for false advertising, and monopolistic practices, and marketing of drugs for off-label uses.
  • Require drug companies to report the net cost of development of a drug.
  • Consider price controls for drugs which have recouped their initial research and development and marketing costs. Limit annual increases in the costs of already brought-to-market drugs to reasonable amounts. Require that drug companies justify any such increases and penalize those that fail to do so.
  • Eliminate so-called “savings cards,” which in reality manipulate providers to use new and not necessarily better drugs.
  • Disallow high pricing for drugs that have been traditionally used for decades but have never before had a brand name nor undergone FDA approval. For example, colchicine for gout was cheap until it was remarketed as Colchys.
  • Eliminate the intermediaries who negotiate getting a drug onto a formulary and then receive a rebate for it.
  • Require pharmacies to disburse a minimum 30-day supply of a drug and prorate co-pays for more than a 30-90 day supply. For example, a box of insulin pens typically contains 5 pens. Those pens may only last 3 weeks for a diabetic on high doses. When the patient needs a refill in 21 days, the pharmacy will charge the patient another copay instead of breaking open a box of pens and calculating exactly how many pens are needed for a 30-day supply.
  • Encourage charity programs for lifesaving drugs such as insulin to indigent patients.
  • Let the FDA or an independent agency run drug trials.
  • Allow drugs developed in countries with equivalent standards to the FDA’s (such as Canada and the EU) into American markets under an expedited FDA approval process.
  • Award drug patents to the pharmaceutical company who brought the drug to market, and allow them to lease out the patent at a fair price point so that other manufacturers can produce the drug.
  • Make it illegal to charge uninsured patients more for a drug than what insured patients pay.