Drug Pricing and Affordability of Medications
Author: Kevin J Colgan
High cost drugs can cause financial toxicity for patients and their families. Federal government policies, the health insurance industry and PhRMA are mutually responsible for this problem. The problem is complex and includes under-insurance due to the preponderance of low premium, high deductible plans; higher drug pricing in the US versus other developed countries; restrictions on negotiating Medicare drug prices; non-transparency of the pricing system; pharmacy benefit manager consolidation and inherent conflict of interest which reduces competition; and not-true orphan drugs delaying market introduction of lower cost generics, to mention a few. Resolving this problem will require a public-private partnership with federal and state regulations that assure price competition and transparency and the private sector developing a sound set of principles to evaluate the true value of pharmaceuticals. This presentation will frame the drug pricing problem and explore potential solutions.