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COVID-19 Vaccines are Evidence that Government Intervention Works

The American success story of the COVID-19 vaccines prove that government intervention and negotiation can facilitate access and innovation, writes Mark Miller and Richard Frank in The Hill.

A volunteer health care provider prepares COVID-19 vaccine doses on May 13, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The American public received innovative COVID-19 vaccines in record time — a testament to the power of government intervention and negotiation, Mark Miller, Executive Vice President of Health Care at Arnold Ventures and the former executive director of MedPAC, and Richard Frank, the Margaret T. Morris Professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, write in a new op-ed

The traditional American approach to drug purchases works for some drugs. But what we’ve learned from this pandemic is that like the COVID vaccine, when large amounts of prescription drugs are needed to treat a public health crisis like insulin for diabetes, or PrEP for HIV, government intervention can facilitate both innovation and access,” Miller and Frank argue. 

As Congress debates drug pricing reform, the COVID-19 vaccine success story suggests that a restructuring of the relationship between the government and the industry can be accomplished in a manner that benefits American patients and taxpayers while keeping the industry financially healthy.”

Read the full op-ed: Government negotiation works — COVID vaccines are proof.