The Intersection of Drug Prices and Affirmative Action in the Healthcare Industry

Ben H.

Hatched by Ben H.

May 04, 2024

3 min read


The Intersection of Drug Prices and Affirmative Action in the Healthcare Industry


In recent news, two major developments have caught the attention of the healthcare industry. The first pertains to the Medicare program's decision to negotiate drug prices, particularly for ten essential drugs. The second revolves around the Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action in higher education institutions. While seemingly unrelated, these events have the potential to significantly impact the healthcare industry, with both positive and negative consequences. In this article, we will explore the commonalities and potential implications of these two developments, along with actionable advice for stakeholders in the healthcare sector.

The Impact of Drug Price Negotiations on Medicare:

Yesterday, Medicare announced its plan to negotiate prices for ten vital drugs. These medications, including Eliquis, Jardiance, and Xarelto, address various conditions such as strokes, blood clots, diabetes, and heart failure. The introduction of price negotiations aims to save money for Medicare, lower out-of-pocket costs for patients, reduce premiums, and potentially create room for the coverage of additional benefits or drugs. However, this move has raised concerns about potential downsides, including stifling innovation by drug companies and the potential removal of drugs from Medicare coverage, which could limit patient access.

Affirmative Action's Role in Addressing Healthcare Disparities:

Simultaneously, the Supreme Court delivered a ruling that prohibits higher education institutions from considering race in admissions decisions. While this ruling primarily affects the education sector, its consequences extend to the healthcare industry. Affirmative action has played a crucial role in diversifying medical school student bodies, aiming to address disparities in the healthcare system. Healthcare organizations have expressed concerns that eliminating affirmative action could impede diversity efforts, exacerbating health inequities experienced by Black and Hispanic populations.

The Intersection and Potential Consequences:

The convergence of drug price negotiations and the affirmative action ruling creates an interesting intersection within the healthcare industry. On one hand, price negotiations may alleviate financial burdens on Medicare and patients, potentially freeing up resources for addressing health disparities. Conversely, the elimination of affirmative action could hinder efforts to diversify the healthcare workforce, which plays a vital role in delivering equitable care to underserved communities.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Foster Innovative Solutions: As drug price negotiations progress, stakeholders must ensure that the process encourages innovation rather than stifling it. Balancing fair pricing with incentives for research and development will be crucial to avoid unintended consequences.
  • 2. Strengthen Diversity Initiatives: In light of the affirmative action ruling, healthcare organizations should redouble their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within their institutions. Investing in pipeline programs, mentorship opportunities, and scholarships can help ensure a diverse healthcare workforce that reflects the patient populations they serve.
  • 3. Advocate for Comprehensive Healthcare Reform: The convergence of these two developments underscores the need for comprehensive healthcare reform. By addressing issues of drug pricing, diversity in healthcare, and equitable access to care, policymakers and industry leaders can work towards a more sustainable and inclusive healthcare system.


The recent developments in drug price negotiations by Medicare and the Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action have significant implications for the healthcare industry. While drug price negotiations have the potential to save costs and improve access, the elimination of affirmative action may hinder efforts to address health disparities. By navigating these challenges, fostering innovation, promoting diversity, and advocating for comprehensive healthcare reform, stakeholders can work towards a more equitable and sustainable future for healthcare in the United States.

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