Criticising cancer medicine pricing as too high is what football fans know as an "open goal"—a target that is hard to miss. Yet somehow the World Health Organization Technical Report on Cancer Pricing manages to do just that with a paper to the WHO Executive Board calling for price and cost transparency.
Is price transparency really the answer to healthcare systems’ fiscal sustainability challenges as they strive to expand access to new technologies or even merely sustain provision within strained public budgets? Well, it depends!
This paper focuses on the role that price transparency may play in the efficient and effective procurement of medicines by middle- and low-income countries. Will making prices publicly available make procurement more efficient and cost-effective medicines more accessible? We conclude that transparency of the procurement process significantly lowers costs by encouraging bidders.