(Bloomberg View) — The rising cost of prescription drugs isn’t quite the crisis it’s made out to be, but it’s still worth addressing. Hillary Clinton isn’t alone in suggesting the most sensible way to do that.
First, about that crisis. Yes, the U.S. pays 40 percent more for drugs than other countries do, and last year those costs rose 12.6 percent. But the increase is expected to slow, and drugs still account for just 10 cents of every dollar Americans spend on health care.
What has rightly made drug costs a political issue, however, are the astronomical prices of a few specialty medicines. Sovaldi, a cure for hepatitis C, costs $1,000 a pill—or $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment — compared with $10 a pill in Bangladesh. Avastin, a lung cancer treatment, costs $11,908 a month. Daraprim, which fights parasitic infections, this month jumped to $750 a pill, from $13.50. (The company that owns the drug backed down in the face of public pressure.)
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