Policies to Address the Problem of High Cost of Prescription Drugs in the United States

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・2 Sources

The increasing price of prescription drugs in the U.S. has turned to be a great source of debate and anxiety for policymakers, payers, patients, and prescribers. The major factor that raises the prices of treatment drugs in the U.S. is the presence of government protected monopoly privileges for drug manufacturers (Alpern et al., 2014). Possible solutions to the problem include price negotiations, generic drug policies, improving competition, and information dissemination.


The high cost of such drugs is attributed to the approach taken by the U.S. to permitting government-protected monopolies to producers of drugs, as well as the coverage necessities that are imposed on drug benefits funded by the government. According to Howard and others (2015), the most effective short-term approaches that the U.S. uses to address the problem include implementing more strict necessities for the extension and award of individuality rights, increasing competition by guaranteeing prompt generic availability of drugs, offering greater openings for significant price negotiation by legislative payers, and educating policy makers, patients, payers, and prescribers about these choices.

Evaluation Criteria

Despite the efforts by the U.S government to address the problem of high cost of prescription drugs, sometimes, other federal policies and state laws limit the abilities of the generics to keep the costs down (Howard et al., 2015). In light of this, the U.S. government should review the effects and origins of high prices of drugs in the country and adopt policy options which can curb the increasing prices of prescription drugs.

Policy Options Analysis

Pharmacists in the U.S. are necessitated by law to seek patient consent before using a generic drug. As a result, costs increased since pharmacists failed to get the consent of patients, forcing Medicaid to cater for the more expensive brand name drug despite the availability of cheaper products (Alpern et al., 2014). Additionally, the United States has a policy that permits drug manufacturers to be the only manufacturers of drugs. Besides, the FDA gives producers of drugs in the United States exclusivity for specific products, comprising those that heal individuals with rare diseases.

Policy Recommendations

It is recommended that the U.S adopt the following policies to address the problem of high cost of prescription drugs. Establish a limit on out-of-pocket drug prices to allow consumers have considerable protection against the extremely high cost of drugs. Commend more generic forms of common drugs to moderate prices Permit limited importation of drugs from valid European and Canadian sources to relieve shortages and moderate prices.


Alpern, J. D., Stauffer, W. M., & Kesselheim, A. S. (2014). High-cost generic drugs—implications for patients and policymakers. New England Journal of Medicine, 371(20), 1859-1862.

Howard, D. H., Bach, P. B., Berndt, E. R., & Conti, R. M. (2015). Pricing in the market for anticancer drugs. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(1), 139-162.

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