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Cancer Patients Need Affordable Drugs NOW (Guest: David Mitchell)

March 16, 2020

David Mitchell was diagnosed with uncurable cancer. The drugs keeping David alive are exorbitantly expensive. David joins the show to highlight how he’s trying to lower prices.

David Mitchell, a longtime policy wonk in Washington, DC, was diagnosed with incurable myeloma a few years ago and discovered that the cost of the prescription drugs keeping him alive were exorbitantly high. In 2016, he founded P4ADNOW to help lobby for the reduction in drug prices.

Mitchell joins the Health Care News podcast to discuss the drug price reduction bill proposed in the Senate by Sens. Grassley and Wyden and his organization's support of the legislation. He talks about how the pharmaceutical companies will be incentivized by being allowed the opportunity to set the price for drugs at the front end, but disallowed from raising the price past the rate of inflation. Criticism of this part of the legislation -- sometimes called price controls -- is valid, and Mitchell acknowledges the controversy. But he explains why he sees the system as its been as gouging the taxpayers and so the attempt to cap prices and institute rebates is more a correction rather than an attempt to stifle the free market. Agree or not, Mitchell, staring down his own cancer, makes a compelling case.

Sarah Lee is a policy advisor for health care and a host of Heartland's Health Care News podcast.