May 9, 2017 – Loss of Competition


Anchor lead: What accounts for huge increases in generic drug prices? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Drug prices have been increasing astronomically, but many generic drug prices- which are usually much less expensive- have led the way, sometimes increasing by thousands of percentage points. Redonda Miller, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, says the the reason is clear.

Miller: Sole source providers, a loss of competition in the generic market. We have medications that have been around for decades but for a variety of reasons, market consolidation, perhaps issues with manufacturing, it turns out that we end up with one manufacturer. So we have no competition, and the prices are jacked up.   :27

Miller says some specific instances of greed have been identified, but thinks it may be time for negotiation on the part of federal agencies like Medicare to standardize drug prices as well as encourage more manufacturers to make generics and increase competition. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.