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article imageObama investigates drug prices

By Tim Sandle     Nov 5, 2015 in Health
U.S. President Obama has launched an investigation into the prices of medicines within the U.S. This follows recent complaints about the practices of pharmaceutical companies affecting drug pricing.
The inquiry into the cost of medicines is called the "Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force." The focus, International Business Times reports, is on the rapid rise of prescription medication costs. For details about the high prices paid by U.S. citizens, Karen Graham has shown the disproportionate prices paid in a special Digital Journal report.
The topic has been featured in several of the recent televised debates featuring the main contenders for the Democratic and Republican Party presidential nominations (notably by both Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.) The matter also features highly in polls of key issues raised by voters.
As an indication of the problem, data supplied by the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) department show drug prices increased by around 13 percent in 2014.
To review the issue, President Obama has appointed a team to the new task force. The team is led by HHS secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. At a briefing, the team told journalists they were seeking "meaningful action to combat the skyrocketing costs of pharmaceuticals.”
The first meeting of the panel is set to take place on November 20, 2015. The first subject will be the process involved in taking drugs through research and development to release, looking at ways to make this faster and for the resultant medications to be of a lower cost. Reports will be allowed from medics and from pharmaceutical sector representatives. The panel is intended to be independent.
A statement from the Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force indicated: “During the forum, we will hear from a broad range of stakeholders on opportunities to improve patient access to affordable prescription drugs, develop innovative purchasing strategies and incorporate value-based and outcomes-based models into purchasing programs in both the public and private sectors.”
The task force is expected to issue recommendations early into 2016.
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