How the Trump prescription for drug prices transparency could make health care well again

When it comes to the prescription drugs America use, too often money is the last thing consumers think about. Formulaic prescription drug ads are part of the reason why. 

Suffer from blood clotting or find yourself at an elevated risk of stroke due to an irregular heartbeat? Then Eliquis is your answer. Got moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis or Crohn’s disease? Then talk to your doctor about Humira.

Most ads involve an attractive protagonist whose otherwise idyllic life is interrupted by a specific, serious but treatable condition. Resolution to the protagonist’s problem, as well as a resumption of the ad’s narrative arc, comes in the form of medication. The protagonist then gets back to his or her enriching and meaningful pursuits — say biking along the Pacific Coast or cooking with a loved one — while a narrator runs through the potential side effects. 

All come with two powerful subliminal messages: One, directed at those who might be interested in medication, is: “Get this drug and someone else will foot much of the bill.” The other, for those not in the market for meds, would go something like this: “Congratulations! You just paid for this ad.”

Nothing better illustrates the insanity of the nation’s health care system than the drug ads people watch. Like all others, America's is a form of socialism — that is to say patient and provider determine a course of treatment and then much of the cost is socialized within broad insurance pools, whether you get your insurance through an Obamacare exchange or your employer. But unlike in other countries where government has a larger role, no insurer is powerful enough to set a limit on what it will spend on behalf of those it covers.

 Read more at USA Today

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