Fundamentals Briefing

The World of Prescription Drugs: Approvals, Pricing, and Purchasing
January 30, 2009


Laura A. Dummit & Mary Ellen Stahlman


Major milestones in the life cycle of a drug includes research and development, clinical trials, approval by the Food and Drug Administration, patent exclusivity, and introduction of generic versions. What is involved in bringing a drug from research and development to the shelf at your local pharmacy? How are prescription drug prices determined, and how do federal purchasers such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration determine what they will pay for drugs? What is the difference between a brand name and a generic drug, and what is all the fuss about generic biologic drugs?This session explored these and other issues related to prescription drug approvals, pricing, and purchasing.


Jim Hahn, PhD, Health Economist, Congressional Research Service; Anna Cook, PhD, Principal Analyst, Congressional Budget Office

Slides from the presentation by Dr. Hahn and Dr. Cook are available for download.

Related Materials

This session was the first of three follow-ups to the Forum's 2009 Medicare and Medicaid Briefings, held January 15 and 16, 2009. See also "Medicaid, Employers, and Medigap: Wrapping Around Medicare" (February 6, 2009) and "Comparative Effectiveness: What Is It? Who Does It? And Where Is It Going?" (February 13, 2009).

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