About 24 percent of adults report difficulty in affording prescription drugs, including 9 percent who report it is “very difficult” to afford them and 15 percent who report it is “somewhat difficult.” Approximately 11 percent of adults reported rationing high-priced drugs in 2017.
Recently, @Arnold_Ventures launched a new podcast, “Deep Dive with Laura Arnold,” that tackles the issue of drug prices. In its debut episode, podcast host Laura Arnold sits down with David Mitchell, founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs, who began his fight for drug pricing reform after a devastating diagnosis of an incurable blood cancer. The cost of his medicine each year: $325,000. They discuss a broken system built to serve those who make money — not those who depend on it for their health.
“Our mission is to improve people’s lives by fixing broken systems,” Arnold says. “We view drug pricing as a broken system, and not just from a theoretical perspective, but from a human perspective. We see this as a crisis in our nation. People can’t afford their drugs, and the consequences for all of us, both personally and from a societal perspective, are dire.”
With support from Arnold Ventures, the Program on Regulation, Therapeutics, and Law (PORTAL) at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been tackling issues of pharmaceutical policy in the United States, including new ways to challenge drug patents, the value of cancer therapies and gene therapies, the failure of antibiotic incentives, the disappointing efficacy of many drugs (even so-called breakthrough drugs), inappropriate drug advertising, industry funding of the FDA, factors that have frustrated drug price competition, and many other topics.
“Deep Dive” is broader than just pharmaceutical policy, and will explore market failures in health care, criminal justice, education, and public finance, including how to fix them. New episodes will be published bi-monthly and feature a range of topics, including probation and parole reform, and accountability in higher education. In each episode, Arnold interviews a special guest, seeking to provide a lively discussion that both informs and challenges. Guests will be people at the center of the debate over policy change. The conversation will endeavor to disentangle complex issues and remind us that entrenched interests make reform difficult, but not impossible.