$11 For Any Prescription? What Corporate U.S. Health Care Could Learn From Germany


On Point / WBUR (6/24/19)

Germany has a private health care system like the U.S., but even the sickest patients rarely pay more than $11 for a prescription. How?


  • Noam Levey, writes about national health care policy out of Washington, D.C., for the Los Angeles Times. (@NoamLevey)
  • Leigh Purvis, director of health services research at the AARP Public Policy Institute. (@leighdrugwonk)

Link to 40-Minute Audio


German Patients Get The Latest Drugs For Just $11. Can Such A Model Work In The U.S.?

By Norm Levey
The Los Angeles Times (6/19/19)

Patients who come to the Havelhöhe cancer clinic in the leafy outskirts of Germany’s capital are often very sick.

Struggling with advanced-stage cancers, many need strong doses of expensive, cutting-edge chemotherapy that can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But like all Germans, none of the patients sitting quietly in the infusion ward here pay more than 10 euros a prescription, or about $11. “We never talk about costs,” said Dr. Burkhard Matthes, a senior oncologist at the clinic.

Germany’s ability to provide citizens access to the latest drugs while keeping patients’ costs so low is made possible by a novel strategy launched in 2011 to rein in exploding prices that were threatening to bankrupt the nation’s healthcare system. …

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