I give President Trump great credit for shining his spotlight on the ridiculous place the U.S. finds itself over drug prices.
They are way too high, the private market has proven incapable of dealing with it–pharmacy benefit managers have only made the drug market more opaque, and the biggest drug purchaser in the world, the U.S. government, has been politically unwilling to deal with it.
All while other industrialized countries have nowhere near the problem.
What is even more frustrating is to see an easy solution that has worked for years in these other industrialized countries. Even though they are single-payer government-run systems, their drug pricing schemes are as American-style free market as they could be.
Would any major U.S. corporation spend loads of money on procurement without first going out to bid on both price and performance? Would the Pentagon buy a new ship or aircraft system without going out to bid on both price and capability? Would the U.S. General Services Administration put up a new government office building without first bidding it out to determine which contractor would construct the best facility for the price?
So, if we are looking for market-based solutions to the high cost of prescription drugs, we need look no further than the government-run health care systems in France, Canada, Germany, the U.K., and others.
Rather than pointing the finger at these other nations that "pay too little" for their drugs and then condemn them for it, we might first recognize that they are out marketeering –the United States.
These foreign bureaucrats are making American capitalists look like little leaguers when it comes to keeping drug prices under control.