Oregon Senator Seeks Different Way To Develop New Drugs

Sen. Ron Wyden wants to shake up the way we pay for prescription drugs.

He’s issued an open letter asking what new tools the nation needs to address the problem.

Last month the Senate Finance Committee released a study into drug manufacturer Gilead. It showed the company didn’t consider affordability when setting the price of a new Hepatitis C medication at $1,000 a pill.

Wyden, D-Oregon, said the company hardly mentions, in a 20,000-page report, the usual reasons for high prices: research and development.

“Affordability and access was pretty much an afterthought," Wyden said. "All they were interested in was maximizing their revenue."

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, joined the Oregon Democrat in the letter. They’re asking what measures might improve price transparency, but at the same time maintain incentives to manufacture new drugs.

Manufacturer Gilead said its new drugs cost less than the old ones and they work better.

Dozens of pharmaceutical companies recently called on the World Economic Forum to develop new ways to pay them for developing antibiotics.

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