Blame game heats up over drug prices


Faced with growing anger from the public and Congress, the pharmaceutical industry is putting the blame for high drug prices on another powerful player in the healthcare industry: insurers.

High-deductible plans that force consumers to shoulder more of their healthcare costs are a reason they are seeing higher prices, according to the insurance industry's main lobbying group. The claim is a new defense for the industry, which is seeing more congressional scrutiny for its pricing practices.

"The health system is changing and pushing more costs onto the consumer," said Lori Reilly, executive vice president of policy and research for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Researchers of America.

The insurance industry shot back that prices for brand and generic products have been steadily rising and insurers need to adopt such measures to maintain access for their policyholders.