Cost & Quality

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Drug Price Dilemma

Republicans, Democrats and the public at large agree that prices for prescription drugs are too high. But no one seems to know how to fix it. Vanderbilt University drug price researcher Stacie Dusetzina explains the basics of why drugs cost so much and why it’s hard to do something about it. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss the prospects for policy changes.
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The high cost of prescription drugs is among consumers’ top health policy issues, according to public opinion polls. And it’s one of the few health issues that Republicans and Democrats agree needs addressing. Yet try as they might, policymakers have been able to make only incremental changes in drug price policy during the past three decades.

Why is lowering drug prices so hard? The political clout of the powerful drug industry plays a role. Also, the problem is particularly complex because drugs pass through so many hands between manufacturing and the pickup at the pharmacy counter.

This week KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast takes a deep dive into the policy and politics of prescription drug prices. First, host Julie Rovner talks with Stacie Dusetzina, a drug price researcher and associate professor at Vanderbilt University.

Then panelists Sarah Karlin-Smith, Anna Edney and Joanne Kenen join Rovner for a discussion of the prospects for policy change.

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to KHN’s What the Health? on Spotify, Apple PodcastsStitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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