High Value Health Care

World Health Assembly considers making clinical trial costs transparent – and it should start with the U.S.

Test tubes

Pharmaceutical companies defend their high prices by pointing to the costs of running clinical trials when developing new medications. They insist high drug prices are needed to recoup the cost of running trials. But how much are they really spending on clinical trials to prove their new drugs’ effectiveness? It’s hard to say because they don’t disclose that price tag in any detail – even when public tax dollars are footing the bill.  

We don’t have to wait for the World Health Assembly to act – the U.S. should lead the charge. 

The Pharmaceutical Research and Transparency Act of 2022 introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives will require drug companies to disclose the amount of money they spend to conduct clinical trials and put that information in a public database so we can all see if their claims of high costs are valid. It’s time to get at the cost drivers in our system – but clinical trials may not actually be one of them. 

US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) health care campaign director Patricia Kelmar said that “these bills are a vital start to pulling down the obstacles to competition and bringing about needed reforms.”

Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

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