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Health Care Costs, News & Updates, Resources, State Efforts

Prescription Drug Prices: Problems, Solutions, and What States Can Do

Published On October 31, 2018

The price of prescription drugs has increasingly been a topic of public concern over the last several years. A 2018 Kaiser poll showed that 80% of Americans believe drug prices are unreasonable, and a significant majority think that Congress and the President are not doing enough about the problem. Additional attention to the issue has been driven by media coverage of particularly riveting examples, including the case of Martin Shkreli, who raised the price of a patented drug 5,000% overnight; the $94,500 launch price of the first effective treatment for Hepatitis C; and the recent dramatic price increases for Epi-pens and insulin, two commonly used drugs that have been on the market for decades.

This brief identifies drivers of rising prescription drug costs and reviews ways that states can address them.