One way to lower drug prices

Bottles of prescription pills go through an automated packaging machine at a pharmacy plant in New Jersey.

Story highlights

  • Priti Radhakrishnan: Prescription drug prices are soaring; for example, a $1,000-per-pill hepatitis C drug
  • She argues that opposing drug company patent applications is one route to lower prices

Priti Radhakrishnan is co-founder and director of the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK), which is a U.S.-based nonprofit group of scientists and lawyers working globally to get people lifesaving medicine. Prior to founding I-MAK, Radhakrishnan worked as a health attorney in the U.S., Switzerland and India. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.

(CNN)Prescription drug prices are soaring, as exemplified by pharmaceutical giant Gilead's $1,000-per-pill hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi. High prices for drugs that treat deadly diseases are creating barriers for patients, burdening governments and leading to rationing and denial of lifesaving treatments around the world.

One possible route to ensuring people get the care they need is passing new laws. Indeed, in response to the growing backlash against skyrocketing drug prices, U.S. states have introduced bills that would require price transparency from pharmaceutical companies. But while these efforts are welcome, their success is not assured, and they address only part of the problem.