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AP: What are some of the changes the U.S. should be making to control medical spending?

FRAZIER: We need to fix the misalignment of incentives, to stop paying for treatment volume rather than better care. I’d like to see a lot more spending on prenatal care and less at the end of life. Eighty percent of health care costs are driven by behaviors that can be controlled or modified _ excessive eating, smoking and drinking. We need a massive behavioral change.

AP: You joined several CEOs in a meeting with Obama in Washington late last year to discuss deficit and debt reduction. What did you tell the president?

FRAZIER: The president invited CEOs from different industries to hear what we thought, and whether or not we were prepared to support his approach, which calls for higher taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent. I support tax revenue increases, including the top 2 percent, but only if accompanied by responsible spending limits. The key is balance.

I talked to him about the importance of innovation, and I think the president understands that. I do worry that as we try to fix this long-term debt and deficit situation that we don’t destroy the market incentives for biomedical research. What I fear is the government using its considerable clout to say, `Here’s the price we’re setting for your medicines.’


Linda A. Johnson can be followed at