Moeller: Lower drug prices — does any candidate have an Rx?

Journalist Philip Moeller, who writes widely on health and retirement, is here to provide the Medicare answers you need in “Ask Phil, the Medicare Maven.” Send your questions to Phil.

There are few things most Americans agree on these days, but high drug prices clearly are one of them. From $1,000-a-dose miracle drugs to enormous mark-ups on existing drugs, including generics, the pharmaceutical industry has been on a price-gouging campaign. We are angry about this and getting more so. And this was before drug executive Martin Shkreli took a page out of Bizarro last week with his performance at a Congressional hearing. No wonder the industry is trying to revamp its image, rushing out a new ad campaign aimed at Beltway policymakers.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have issued extensive statements on how to combat rising drug prices. Leading Republican contenders are less eager to add regulations, although Donald Trump reportedly has said he supports giving government more authority to seek lower prices.

Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign responded to a request for his policy on drug prices by referring to a piece he wrote about how the Food and Drug Administration was blocking medical innovation. Drug companies, he said, would produce more life-saving treatments if they faced fewer FDA impediments. The campaigns of Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio did not respond to multiple requests for their views on high drug prices.

So where do things stand? And what are the odds of getting meaningful price relief on pharmacy bills?

Read more: PBS

Philip Moeller

Philip Moeller is a research fellow at the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College and co-author of “How to Live to 100.”

He wrote his latest book, “How to Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security,” with Making Sen$e’s Paul Solman and Larry Kotlikoff. He is now working on a companion book about Medicare.

Follow him on Twitter @PhilMoeller or e-mail him at

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