“Hatch-Waxman is one of the true success stories in health policy, saving trillions for consumers and taxpayers over the past thirty years. But with spiraling drug costs looming in the specialty pharmaceutical sector, it’s time we drew some lessons from that achievement.
Thirty years ago, Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Henry Waxman refused to heed naysayers who claimed that you couldn’t have both affordability and innovation. Policymakers and stakeholders of very diverse interests and perspectives dialogued, debated, and ultimately settled on an approach that balanced the need to reward innovation with the need to maintain system-wide affordability. The results were trillions of dollars in savings from generic competition and three decades of continued breakthroughs in brand-name drugs.
As a new generation of exciting but expensive drugs emerges, we must acknowledge, as Hatch and Waxman did in the 1980s, that innovation has to come at a price our health system can afford.”