Access to effective and affordable medicines is necessary for public health, social equity, and economic development, but the biopharmaceutical sector is not meeting that need, according to a report released today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. “Our report seeks to address the market failures that currently permeate the biopharmaceutical sector, such as lack of competition due to distortions in the application of the patent protection process, the imbalance between the negotiating power of suppliers and purchasers, and the convoluted structure of the supply chain,” the authors note. The report offers eight recommendations with 27 actions to improve the affordability of prescription drugs without discouraging the development of new and more effective drugs for the future. Among other measures, the report recommends improving methods for assessing the value that drugs provide and ensuring that incentives to develop drugs for rare diseases are not extended to widely sold drugs; taking actions to continually foster greater access to off-patent generic drugs; and discouraging direct-to-consumer advertisements for prescription drugs. 

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