THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICING PROBLEM
BILL CORR, FORMER Deputy Assistant Secretary of DHHS
The average per capita spending on these drugs is $1000 and rising, while in other developed countries it is $600. Some argue we are subsidizing these other countries, and the drug industry argues that the reason for the prices is their spending on research.
The staggering data seem to argue against both excuses. This is an issue which affects all of us, especially those of us who are of “a certain age.”
Health Affairs points out: “To avoid reporting lower revenue and profits (due to the loss of patent protection on older drugs), drug manufacturers have been imposing large annual price increases, often 10 percent or more, on all drugs that remain protected by monopolies. The cumulative effect has been to double or triple the price of top-selling branded drugs such as Humira, Lyrica, Lantus, and many others. That is why US drug prices are the highest in the world.”
Bill Corr, former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and now with former Rep. Henry Waxman, has co-authored a major study of the problem of skyrocketing prescription drug prices and what can be done about it, which he will discuss on March 11.
Bill has spent the bulk of his impressive career advocating for better healthcare access at almost every level of society. Most recently, he served as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services from 2009 to 2015. Bill returned to the Department after serving as executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a privately funded organization established to focus the nation’s attention and action on reducing tobacco use among both kids and adults.
From March 1998 until 2000, Bill served as Chief Counsel and Policy Director for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. His responsibilities for the Minority Leader included developing and coordinating policy positions for Senate Democrats, as well as with the White House and House Minority Leadership. Before working for the Senate Minority Leader, Bill served as the Chief of Staff for the Department of Health and Human Services. In that capacity, he was the principal advisor to Secretary Donna E. Shalala on all major policy and management issues and initiatives.
From 1989 until 1993, Bill served as Chief Counsel and Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Monopolies and Business Rights of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary under Chairman Howard M. Metzenbaum. He also assisted Senator Metzenbaum as a member of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. Bill’s major legislative and oversight responsibilities included the Brady Bill, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, prescription drug and state insurance regulation, the S&L industry, and several Supreme Court nominations.
Before his career on Capitol Hill, Bill worked in the Appalachian Mountain area of Tennessee and Kentucky from 1974 to 1977. During that time, he directed four private, nonprofit, community-run primary health care centers and assisted other communities in establishing and operating similar centers.
Bill holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law.
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