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Fairness in drug prices: do economists think differently from the public?

Authors
  • Trujillo, Antonio J1
  • Karmarkar, Taruja2
  • Alexander, Caleb3
  • Padula, William2
  • Greene, Jeremy4
  • Anderson, Gerard2
  • 1 Associate Professor, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, MD, USA.
  • 2 Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, MD, USA.
  • 3 Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, MD, USA.
  • 4 Professor of Medicine and History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, MD, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Health economics, policy, and law
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
Volume
15
Issue
1
Pages
18–29
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1017/S1744133118000427
PMID: 30509337
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Using dual-entitlement theory as the guide, we conducted a survey of economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research asking them a series of questions about the fairness of drug prices in the United States. Public opinion surveys have repeatedly shown that the public perceives drug prices to be unfair, but economists trained in laws of supply and demand may have different perceptions. Three hundred and ten senior economists responded to our survey. Forty-five percent agreed that drug prices were unfair when people, specifically low-income individuals, could not afford their prescription medications. Sixty-five percent oppose a dollar threshold, or upper limit, on drug prices. The economists recommend the most promising policy change would be to provide the government additional negotiating power and price controls would moderately impact investment in pharmaceutical research and development.

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