Finding Solutions

We have to break the monopoly pricing power of the drug corporations and demand transparency from pharmacy benefit managers who run drug insurance programs.

The drug corporations try to scare us. It’s like extortion. They say that if we don’t pay their outrageous prices, they won’t develop new drugs. But the fact is that they are making so much money and wasting so much on marketing and advertising, we can have both innovation and lower prescription drug prices. And then we need to stop the secret deals by pharmacy benefit managers—the corporations that run prescription drug insurance programs—so we can be sure patients are being protected.

Medicare should be able to negotiate lower costs for patients.

Right now Medicare has to accept the price dictated by the drug company. Medicare can’t say no—no matter the cost. That must change so Medicare can use its purchasing leverage to negotiate for patients.

Generic versions of drugs should be available sooner to compete with brand names.

Patents and exclusivity protections extend too long. And Drug companies game the system to extend them further by making tiny changes and calling it a whole new drug. We must put an end to these practices that hurt patients.

Pharmacy benefit managers—the companies that operate prescription drug insurance programs—are supposed to operate on behalf of patients to get lower prices.

But instead they insist on negotiating secret deals so we can’t see how much they are keeping and how much savings are reaching patients and consumers. We need complete transparency from pharmacy benefit managers.

We should require drug corporations to disclose how they set prices.

How much are they really spending on research and innovation? How much for marketing and advertising? How much for manufacturing and distribution? Then we can see if it is fair.

We should create a new system to set prices for prescription drugs based on the value they provide to patients.

Every other sector of our health care system is moving to payment based on outcomes and results. There are several value frameworks for drugs already in use. Medicare should use such frameworks to establish a fair price instead of being forced to accept a monopoly price.

We support absolute transparency with our clients. And we support, as well, transparency with patients.

Tim Wentworth, Express Scripts CEO
February 2017

The ACP has long-standing policy of advocating for the ability of the Secretary (of Health and Human Services) to negotiate drug prices and rebates directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers…

Nitin S. Damle, MD, American College of Physicians President
February 2017

Our Stories

Elected officials and policymakers need to hear our stories. We need your help to share them. More stories


Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.