The Financial Times reported on September 30, 2010, that England will try to revise drug prices to get them in alignment with their value for patients. That sounds good, but can governments and regulators really make good decisions about this?
In a socialist world where government takes responsibility for providing medical care, government has to decide what it will and won’t pay, and what it will and won’t cover. Another approach is for patients to decide how much to pay by deciding how much a drug treatment is worth to them. That system seems to work well in the rest of the economy.
So many of us have come to rely on others — insurers or the government — to make our health care decisions for us. I’m not saying whether that’s good or bad, just that it is. If we want to control the cost of health care, we’re either going to have to let insurers or the government make those decisions for us, or we’re going to have to change to a system in which we make those decisions for ourselves. But to do that, we have to be responsible for paying for our health care. I discuss this in more detail in my Primer on Health Care Reform, available for free by clicking here.