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STAT News: Interview with PhRMA CEO: The One Drug Pricing Idea Clinton and PhRMA Can Agree On

Stephen J. Ubl

Stephen J. Ubl

Washington, DC, April 12 ― The pharmaceutical industry has opposed most of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s proposals to bring down drug costs, but there’s one idea its chief lobbyist supports: limiting the amount that consumers have to pay out of their own pockets, reports David Nather on STAT.

In an interview with STAT, Stephen J. Ubl, president and chief executive officer of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the main trade group for drug companies, singled out the proposal when asked whether there were any positive ideas in the Democratic presidential front-runner’s drug prices plan.

“I would say one thing that she has proposed that we would favor is capping out-of-pocket costs,” Ubl said.  “I think we have to acknowledge that some patients do face challenges in accessing their medicines.”

In the past, he said, people were only charged modest copayments for their share of prescription drugs. But “in recent years, we’ve seen the insurance market shift,” he said, and people are being required to pay more of their share of all health care expenses.

“And so minimizing out-of-pocket costs is, I think, important,” Ubl said, noting that Obamacare already puts limits on the amount people have to pay out of pocket if they’re covered under the law’s health insurance marketplaces.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $51.2 billion in 2014 alone.

For Nather’s full STAT story and interview with Mr. Ubl, click here.

Follow Nather on Twitter @DavidNather.


Follow STAT — which reports from the frontiers of health and medicine — on Twitter @statnews.