July 1, 2016 – Amidst criticism over the high cost of drugs in this country, billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates said he supports the U.S. drug pricing system, calling it “better than most other systems one can imagine,” according to an article posted yesterday on Bloomberg.com.
“The drug companies are turning out miracles, and we need their R&D budgets to stay strong,” Gates said. “They need to see the opportunity.” Although a few industry players have been accused of sharp drug increases, Gates added that “market forces” are helping to bring the costs down for innovative products, such as those that treat hepatitis C.
This vote of confidence is much needed as debate about drug pricing continues on a national level. “Drug pricing debates are raging in Washington, and no doubt will rise again after the election, no matter who wins,” said Coalition for Healthcare Communication Executive Director John Kamp. “It’s great to have a rational voice from one of the foremost world health advocates weigh in on this issue.”
The Bloomberg piece states that “Investors have been urging biotech and pharma leaders to defend their industry by educating the public about the value of their products and the importance of rewarding innovation when most drug candidates fail in clinical trials.” The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has been doing just that, working to educate consumers and lawmakers about the value of drugs to the healthcare system through its “From Hope to Cures” campaign (see http://www.phrma.org/value).