Impact of Drug Shortages and Pricing on the Health of Americans
The delivery of affordable medications is a key component to treating and reducing diseases worldwide. In addition to insurance coverage for medical matters, the U.S. Affordable Care Act requires drugs to be offered at affordable prices. Despite this requirement, costs of both generic and brand-name prescription medicines have increased, especially for medicines to treat cancers. Consequently, patients with limited resources either do not purchase their medications or take less than the prescribed doses. The recent increases in the price of Daraprim and other drugs have highlighted these issues. The pricing of generic and brand-name prescription medicines is not sufficiently transparent, and drug shortages, which can be due to many factors, are not uncommon. Drug shortages can negatively affect drug therapies, delay medical procedures, and cause medication errors. There is an urgent need to develop transparent national drug pricing policies based on scientific and market principles. This session approaches these issues with discussion of common drug pricing issues and shortages, value-based approaches and common-sense methods to contain costs of drugs to treat cancers, and policies that consider the economics of drug pricing and proposed pricing solutions to better serve society.