News Release

Medicine for All

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to introduce a proposal for pharmaceutical drugs this week.

DANA BROWN, via press at democracycollaborative.org
Brown is director of The Next System Project at The Democracy Collaborative and author of a new study, “Medicine for All” which advocates a public alternative to Big Pharma.

She said today: “If all we needed were patches to the current market-based drug system, the steps that Speaker Pelosi and House Democratic leaders have proposed would be welcome additions to the debate, but the reality is the system is so broken we have to move beyond patches to a more fundamental transformation.”

Brown co-wrote the just-published piece “The Case for a Public Option for the Drug Industry” in The New Republic. Brown notes: “A United States public option for pharmaceutical production would address a range of problems in an industry rife with market failure. Some medications are out of reach for many patients who need them because of the high prices pharmaceutical companies charge. There are also dozens of drugs for which the for-profit drug industry is not meeting the demand because it’s not financially attractive…

“The case for a public option is simple…publicly owned pharmaceuticals are free of the structural need to appease profit-hungry shareholders and are thus able to focus on public health priorities. They can work hand-in-hand with public health departments to assure that essential medicines — originally researched and developed with significant public spending — are in adequate supply and priced to be accessible to everyone who needs them.”

“Forcing pharmaceutical companies to compete with a public alternative that does not answer to Wall Street and its demands for profit extraction would transform the market in ways that empowering the federal government to negotiate prices for a subset of drugs would not. It would also mean that patients with chronic diseases like diabetes would not be forced to ration their medication because a drug company executive felt compelled to jack up its price hundreds of percentage points above cost.”