States try to save on drugs

My local paper picked up this NYT article on how states are trying to save on prescription drugs by joining syndicates with other states to negotiate discounts for their Medicaid and health care programs. But perhaps most intriguing is how Oregon has joined with other states to compare the safety and effectiveness of hundreds of drugs.

If you’re Big Pharma this would make you afraid, very afraid.  I’ve seen recommendations made that a principal way to cut health care costs is to produce data for patients and their doctors about the relative cost/effectiveness of new pricey drugs vs. generics and older drugs. In many cases the new drugs are not going to compare well with what’s available at lower cost. That information hasn’t been readily available before, but if it becomes known the pay-till-you-bleed game might be over. For a real wallop, the same strategy could be used to compare treatments and hospitals.