Magazine article Drug Topics

PRIME Institute Challenges Industry on Competition

Magazine article Drug Topics

PRIME Institute Challenges Industry on Competition

Article excerpt

The pharmaceutical marketplace is "anticompetitive" and likely to become even more so, according to an analysis by the PRIME Institute, a research organization affiliated with the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. "Instead of competition, the pharmaceutical industry is moving toward a few mega-firms, undergoing vertical and horizontal integration, developing higher barriers to entry, continuing to charge ever higher prices, and attempting to control the manufacture and distribution of pharmaceuticals," the PRIME Institute's director, Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, said at a news briefing earlier this month.

The briefing was sponsored by the Community Retail Pharmacy Health Care Reform Coalition and is part of its long-running battle with brand-name drug companies over their multitiered pricing policies. Coalition members NARD and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores are fighting to ensure that "equal access to discounts" provisions are part of any health-care reform legislation enacted this year. The pharmaceutical industry argues that such a provisions are "antidiscount" and would force it to raise prices to those now receiving deep discounts.

John Rector, NARD's general counsel, said that despite the low acquisition costs that those sectors receive it results in "virtually no benefit to consumers, to Medicaid, to Medicare, to any payers. …

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