Jul 13, 2022·edited Jul 13, 2022

I would be interested to know your thoughts on the German approach. Pharmaceuticals and medical procedures have a price menu set at the national level (overview here https://www.bfarm.de/EN/Medicinal-products/Information-on-medicinal-products/Reference-Pricing/_node.html). Setting a price ceiling has other welfare implications, of course, but the goal is to ensure that profits are within reason (given a vial of human insulin costs an estimated $2.28-$3.42 to produce...), and that prices remain within the reimbursable amount of the statutory public insurance funds.

One of the particularly interesting pieces of legislation in this sphere is that when setting the price menu, medicinal products are grouped based on either the same or similar active ingredients or, a therapeutically comparable action. This means pharmaceutical companies cannot skirt the boundaries by simply changing the formulation repeatedly. In the US we have the former but not the latter.

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I was surprised to see that the Congressional recommendation was a price cap rather than something more similar to how electricity is regulated. I think we're slowly starting to see a move toward more affordable health care with the introduction of things like MedExpress and Urgent Care for more minor issues or Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs program that has really cheap generics. I'm optimistic the market can help, but it's always surprising how slow it's actually going.

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