In trying to reform health care, it's important to reach out to all the players involved.
David Norton, with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America's ( PhRMA ), says physicians, hospitals, insurers, and drug companies can all be part of the solution.
PhRMA recently revised its code of conduct – prohibiting the long-standing practice of showering health care professionals with expensive gifts and incentives. Consumer advertising is changing, too.
"So I think that the industry has listened and has responded appropriately."
Although the cost of medications gets a lot of attention, Norton says drugs are just a fraction of the overall health care price tag.
"Drugs are expensive but I think you've got to put it in context. The total cost of pharmaceuticals of the health care dollar is ten cents. So even if the drugs were reduced by half you wouldn't address the overall health care cost debate."
The cost of researching new drugs is in the billions, and Norton says it takes 10-to-15 years to bring a product to market.
"So if we want to continue to discover, develop and bring new therapies to the market, we're going to have to continue to invest and reward it appropriately."
Norton says everyone agrees that prevention and wellness is the right direction for health care reform. He says 75% of all health care costs are driven by chronic conditions; preventing chronic conditions will drive down healthcare costs.
Norton was in Madison this week appearing at a health care summit , along with former US Health Secretary Tommy Thompson.