James Robinson On The Drug Market, Innovation, Biosimilars, and What The French Get Right
In our multi-payer health care system, the pharmaceutical market involves the complex interplay of manufacturers, insurers, prescribers, and patients. Each seeks to protect its own interest, which can be counterproductive for overall system efficiency.
The United States also has a high rate of generic drug use, which is considered a success story as the introduction of generics can rapidly and dramatically reduce drug prices. But we’ve had much less success with biosimilars, the generic equivalent of high-cost biologic drugs.
James Robinson from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health joins A Health Podyssey to discuss pharmaceuticals, how they’re priced, and how competition in the United States compares to other countries.
Robinson is a contributing editor to Health Affairs and the co-author of two papers published in the August 2021 issue. In one, Robinson and coauthor Quentin Jarrion analyze prices for three drugs and 11 competing biosimilars in France’s single payer health system. They find the launch of biosimilars in France is associated with price reductions for the originator drug and the similar drug.
In the second paper, Robinson and coauthors investigated the economic burden of drug utilization management on payers, manufacturers, physicians, and patients. They report that all stakeholders would benefit from a de-escalation of utilization management, which could lower drug prices and increase patient access.