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Letters: Transparency for drug prices

March 22, 2013

Re "Rx needed to shed light on drug prices," Column, March 19

David Lazarus' recent columns on wildly varying prescription drug prices highlight the real problem with our healthcare system: lack of transparency.

It's ludicrous to think that a Medicare voucher system like the one proposed by congressional Republicans would stabilize prices. Healthcare is seller's market, and there are no market forces.

What is needed is government oversight and regulation — you know, laws — opening up drug and healthcare pricing to market scrutiny.

Thanks to Lazarus for his columns. The more people get angry with arbitrary healthcare pricing, the sooner this country can start a real dialogue on making costs more reasonable rather than having members of Congress bought by the healthcare lobby pay lip service to reform.

Gavin Watt

Fullerton

In terms of drug price fluctuations, how does Kaiser Permanente, for example, charge the same amount for every generic drug for an entire year? I can't imagine Kaiser's volume and therefore its negotiating power is any greater than national chains like Target or CVS.

We've had surgeons general in the past take on big issues and powerful industries, most notably tobacco. I can't even name today's surgeon general. Why isn't that public servant trying to affect policy on this critical health concern? Where is today's C. Everett Koop or David Satcher?

Linda Shahinian

Culver City

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