Prescription Drug Costs: Can Increased Competition Restrain Prices?

June 14, 2018

Public Webinar

There has been growing momentum among policymakers to address rising prescription drug prices. One solution is leveraging market forces to bring down costs by increasing competition through generics and biosimilars. During this webinar, panelists discussed the main opportunities and challenges of the generic and biosimilar market, how past administrations have approached this issue, and how different stakeholders, including consumers, are impacted.


Mary Ella Payne, MSPH, R.N., acting president and chief executive officer, Alliance for Health Policy


  • Sameer Awsare, M.D., associate executive director, The Permanente Medical Group
  • Dora Hughes, M.D., senior policy advisor, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Robert Langreth, science and health reporter, Bloomberg News
*Please note a fourth speaker from a pharmaceutical company was scheduled but was unable to attend the discussion *

 The Alliance for Health Policy gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) for this event.


1:00 – 1:05 p.m. Welcome and Introductions

  •  Mary Ella Payne, R.N., MSPH, acting president and chief executive officer, Alliance for Health Policy @allhealthpolicy

1:05 – 1:35 p.m. Panelist Opening Remarks

  • Robert Langreth, senior health reporter, Bloomberg News, @RobertLangreth
  • Dora Hughes, M.D., MPH, senior policy advisor, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Sameer Awsare, M.D., associate executive director, The Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente, @kpshare

1:35 – 2:15 p.m. Question and Answer Session

The Alliance for Health Policy gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation for this event

Presentation: S. Awsare

Presentation: D. Hughes

Presentation: R. Langreth

Event Resources

Materials listed chronologically, beginning with the most recent, and can be found in full at the Web address indicated

“Trump’s Attempt to Shame Drugmakers Shows Medicare Costs Soaring.” Langreth, R. and Edney, A. Bloomberg. May 15, 2018. Available at

“Promoting Competition to Address Pharmaceutical Prices.” Darrow, J. & Kesselheim, A. Health Affairs. March 15, 2018. Available at

“Friction in the Path to Use of Biosimilar Drugs.” Frank, R. Perspective. New England Journal of Medicine. March 1, 2018. Available at

“Biosimilars: the Cure for Sky-High Drug Prices or a Stake in the Heart of Innovation?” Hoffmann, M. STAT. February 8, 2018. Available at

“Reforming Biopharmaceutical Pricing at Home and Abroad.” The Council of Economic Advisers, Executive Office of the President. February 2018. Available at

“Making Medicines Affordable A National Imperative: Recommendations.” The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. November 2017. Available at

“Reducing the Hurdles for Complex Generic Drug Development.” Gottlieb, S. FDA Voice. October 2, 2017. Available at

“Paying for Prescription Drugs Around the World: Why Is the U.S. an Outlier?” Sarnak, D., Squires, D., Kuzmak, G., and Bishop, S. The Commonwealth Fund. October 2017. Available at

“Understanding the Drivers of Drug Expenditure in the U.S.” Report. PhRMA. September 28, 2017. Available at

“Opportunities to Build Upon Enhanced Competition for Medicines in the Marketplace.” Korn, D. The Catalyst. PhRMA. July 27, 2017. Available at

“Health Affairs Policy Brief: Biosimilars.” Baghdadi, R. et al. July 21, 2017. Available at

“FDA Tackles Drug Competition to Improve Patient Access.” FDA News Release. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. June 27, 2017. Available at

“Drug Prices.” Langreth, R. Bloomberg. June 23, 2017. Available at

“Would Price Transparency For Generic Drugs Lower Costs for Payers and Patients?” Lieberman, S. and Ginsburg, P. The Brookings Institution. June 2017. Available at

“Enabling Competition in Pharmaceutical Markets.” Morton, F. and Boller, L. Hutchins Center Working Papers No. 30. May 2017. Available at

“Biosimilar Cost Savings in the United States.” Mulcahy, A., Hlavka, J., and Case, S. Perspective. RAND Corporation. 2017. Available at

“Understanding Recent Trends in Generic Drug Prices.” Issue Brief. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. January 27, 2016. Available at

“Biosimilars 101.” PhRMA. November 2015. Available at

“Biosimilar Competition in the United States: Statutory Incentives, Payers, and Pharmacy Benefit Managers.” Falit, B., Singh, S., and Brennan, T. Health Affairs. February 2015. Available at

“Winning with Biosimilars: Opportunities in Global Markets.” Jacoby, R., Smith, E., Wilkins, D., Iyer, D., and Peltre, S. Deloitte. 2015. Available at



Sameer Awsare

Kaiser Permanente, The Permanente Medical Group, Associate Executive Director

Dora Hughes

Sidley Austin, LLP, Senior Policy Advisor

Robert Langreth

Bloomberg News, Senior Health Reporter

Experts and Analysts

Peter Bach

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Center of Health Policy and Outcomes, Director


Sean Cavanaugh

Aledade, Chief Administrative Officer

James Czaban

DLA Piper LLP, FDA Practice Group, Chair


Benjamin Isgur

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Health Research Institute, Leader


Andrew Mulcahy

RAND Corporation, Economics, Sociology, and Statistics Department, Associate Director


Trish Riley

National Academy for State Health Policy, Executive Director

Gillian Woollett

Avalere Health LLC, FDA Practice, Senior Vice President



Jessica Banthin

Congressional Budget Office, Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis Division, Deputy Assistant Director


Cliff Binder

Congressional Research Service, Health Insurance and
Financing Section, Analyst


Leah Christl

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation
and Research, Associate Director for Therapeutic Biologics in
the Office of New Drugs


Anne Schwartz

Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, Executive Director



Craig Burns

America’s Health Insurance Plans, Vice President of Research


Andrew Dreyfus

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, President and CEO


Eleanor Perfetto

National Health Council, Strategic Initiatives, Senior Vice President


Leigh Purvis

AARP Public Policy Institute, Health Services Research, Director


Lori Reilly

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Policy, Research & Membership, Executive Vice President


Michael Reilly

Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines, Executive Director