If I put my Procter & Gamble hat on and assess this challenging subject, there are two things that we aren’t doing which P&G would be doing:
1. We would examine what the outcomes are today in the United States compared to other countries which we know are achieving lower costs, broader coverage and strong health outcomes.
It is striking and hopefully instructive to look around the world and see so many developing countries, including Canada to our north, providing close to universal coverage, with costs much lower than our own (10% vs. 17% of GDP), and health outcomes, in terms of duration and quality of life, equal or better than our own.
Within our own country, I would benchmark Massachusetts, which I understand is providing 97% coverage. I don’t know what the costs are, but I would be looking at that and any other states which can be benchmarks for learning.
2. I would break down with great specificity what the differences are in cost between the United States and those countries (Canada, Europe, Japan, etc.) which have significantly lower costs. What explains the difference? I am sure a big part but by no means all are higher drug costs. There are also the profits being made by companies in the distribution chain.
The type of benchmark comparisons I’ve referred to above would yield important learning. We are failing to do the obvious.