Negotiating fair prices for Medicare drugs is capitalism

For the publisher: The pharmaceutical industry’s claim that allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices amounts to socialism seems to overturn the who benefits from whom argument. The industry threat that innovation would suffer if it were to negotiate (fair) drug prices with Medicare does not appear to be justified. (“Drug Makers See Medicare Price Negotiations as Disaster. Don’t Listen To Them,” column, September 16)

Doesn’t our taxpayer’s money fund a lot of the basic research leading to the discovery of new drugs? Unlike private investors, our government receives no share of the profits if any of these drugs are successful.

It would be very informative for readers to receive a detailed analysis of the cash flow that illustrates how much our government contributes to drug research and development (R&D) and how much the profits of the pharmaceutical industry are reinvested in R&D.

This analysis may well show that “corporate socialism” is the current status quo.

Markus Iseli, Los Angeles

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For the publisher: Kudos to columnist David Lazarus for pointing out that allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices for its beneficiaries would be free market principles, contrary to what drug companies claim.

One obvious truth is missing from the Lazarus column: Medicare drugs are bought and consumed by Americans aged 65 and over. They are truly the most vulnerable among us and among the poorest. In some cases, a 50% drop in prices will lead to less illness and death among the elderly.

It is high time to replace our immoral healthcare system that limits or denies essential medicines or care in order to increase profits.

Christopher T. Armen, Calabasas


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