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Navigating the Chessboard of Medicare Drug Prices




Hello everyone,


Welcome back to Negotiation Matters! The delicate game of chess between Big Pharma and the federal government is evolving with a new gambit. With the Biden administration gearing up to negotiate Medicare drug prices, every move on this board is packed with strategy.


1. The First Move: Selection Strategy

The Biden administration's decision to select drugs that account for the highest Medicare spending has been on the market for years, and the lack of competition is a calculated one. By targeting these drugs, they not only aim for visible and significant savings but also diminish potential criticisms that might arise if newer drugs, essential for specific patient groups, were subject to price controls.


For Healthcare Professionals: In your negotiations, the first move can set the tone. Prioritize your goals, and make sure your opening gambit is both bold and strategic, targeting areas that give you the best advantage while minimizing vulnerabilities.


2. The Countermove: Pharma's Defense

The pharmaceutical industry's response, branding the administration's actions as short-sighted and potentially harmful in the long run, reflects a common negotiation strategy: emphasize the potential long-term harm that could arise from a counterpart's proposal.


For Healthcare Professionals: When faced with a strong proposition, emphasizing the broader picture, especially potential risks or harms, can be a valid strategy. Ensure you have data and long-term projections to substantiate your claims.


3. The Endgame: Public Perception and Court Challenges

For both the administration and Big Pharma, the endgame isn't merely about price negotiations; it's also about public perception. The Biden administration leverages the public's desire for lowered drug prices, while Big Pharma uses the courts as both a real and symbolic challenge to the administration's plans.


For Healthcare Professionals: Remember that negotiations aren't always just about the issue at hand. Public perception, brand image, and future collaborations can play a critical role. Considering all stakeholders and the broader implications of your negotiation strategies is essential.


4. The Balancing Act: Striking a Fair Deal

Despite the confrontational stance, there exists an underlying need for both parties to strike a fair deal. While the government pushes for reduced prices to alleviate the financial burden on seniors, Big Pharma emphasizes the importance of revenues to fund research and development. 


For Healthcare Professionals: Achieving a win-win is often the best outcome. While you should advocate for your interests, it's equally important to understand and respect the needs of the other side. Find common ground and build solutions that cater to both parties.


5. The External Play: International Price Indexing

Introducing an external reference, like international price indexing, provides the administration with a benchmark. This move attempts to equalize drug prices with international standards and is a tool to pressure pharmaceutical companies to offer more competitive pricing domestically.


For Healthcare Professionals:  When negotiating, consider introducing external benchmarks or standards. They can provide clarity and justification and serve as a neutral reference point in discussions.


Navigating this chessboard requires foresight, strategy, and adaptability. Every move has its consequences, and in the ever-evolving game of healthcare negotiations, staying two steps ahead is vital.

Until next time, happy negotiating!


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SBL

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