No one claims to hold “the solution” to soaring costs for prescription drugs and how Americans and payers — including government — can afford to pay for them.
But strides toward unraveling the tangle of problems behind this issue won’t be made without determined attempts at substantive discussion between the public and private sectors, according to Rep. Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.).
Suozzi sought to boil down the factors behind drug pricing and learn more about the pharmacy industry and the pharmaceutical business during a visit yesterday to Long Island, N.Y., specialty pharmacy Onco360, where he also met with staff from the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP).
In the discussion that followed a pharmacy tour, he noted that the gridlock and rancor in Congress only make it more difficult to get to the bottom of prescription drug costs.
“This is a complicated question. But there’s no regular order, which is when you have Democrats and Republicans on a committee who listen to experts and ask questions and go through a deliberative process to figure out the answers to these complex issues,” Suozzi said.
“We’re polarized, and we have little time to go through this nice, thoughtful process,” he added.
Suozzi is vice chairman of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers — split evenly at 23 Democrats and 23 Republicans — that aim to bridge the aisle between the parties to tackle such issues as tax reform, immigration reform, infrastructure and health care, of which prescription drug costs are a big part.
“What’s the goal? The goal is we’d like people to be healthier, and we’d like it to cost them less money,” Suozzi said.