Noam Chomsky on Cutting the Cost of Drugs

Noam Chomsky laments the wide gulf between public policy and public attitudes towards the cost of drugs.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Topic: US healthcare, the government and drug prices

Noam Chomsky: There's a lot of concern about cost of US healthcare, which makes good sense.  It's going to tank the economy.  There's about twice as much per capita as comparable countries have some of the worst outcomes and it's growing pretty fast.  So yeah, that's a real problem.  And a lot of criticism of Obama's plan from the right, as it's called, is too expensive.  Well, there's some pretty easy ways to cut down the expenses.

For example, the United States is the only industrial country that by law, does not permit the government to use its purchasing power to negotiate drug prices.  So one effect is that drug prices are way higher than anywhere else. 

Well, what does the public think about this?  The few polls there are show that approximately 85 percent of the public thinks we ought to do it.  It's not even on the agenda.  In fact, a week or so ago, the “New York Times” had a front page article saying that Obama had made a secret deal with the drug companies, in which he assured them that there would be no such moves.

Recorded on: Aug 18, 2009.