[EconTalk] Robin Feldman on Drugs, Money, and Secret Handshakes

Robin Feldman on Drugs, Money, and Secret Handshakes

08/04/2019 by EconTalk: Russ Roberts

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=67455255
Episode: http://files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2019/Feldmanhandshakes.mp3

Law professor and author Robin Feldman of UC Hastings College of the Law talks about her book Drugs, Money, and Secret Handshakes with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Feldman argues that the legal and regulatory environment for drug companies encourages those companies to seek drugs that extend their monopoly through the patent system often with insufficient benefit for consumers. The prices for those drugs are then protected from new competition. She also argues that the pharmacy benefit management system allows drug companies to exploit consumers. The conversation concludes with a discussion of what can be done to improve the situation.

Listen Date: 2019-05-06


  • Good grief. I only started understanding the American medical system a few months ago, and since then there has been this astonishing new revelation every few weeks of one or the other way in which it was atrocious. This time around, it was finding out that there is an oligopoly of middlemen sitting between pharma companies and insurers / hospitals who fix drug prices. Dear lord.
  • I found myself wondering; even if competing pharma companies can’t challenge patents for extensions or trivial innovations, can’t a nonprofit specialise in such activity and do it across the board?


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