KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Skin Docs Prescribe Costlier Drugs After Free Samples

In other news, panels recommend a costly hepatitis C drug for the sickest patients, and cancer doctors will compare the value of costly cancer drugs.

NPR: Free Drug Samples Prompt Skin Doctors To Prescribe Costlier Meds
Every "free" sample comes with a price. Dermatologists who accept free tubes and bottles of brand-name drugs are likelier to prescribe expensive medications for acne than doctors who are prohibited from taking samples, a study reports Wednesday (Doucleff, 4/16).

Kaiser Health News: VA, California Panels Urge Costly Hepatitis C Drugs For Sickest Patients
Doctors should consider expensive new hepatitis C drugs for patients with advanced liver disease, including those awaiting transplants, but ask most others to wait for drugs in development, the Department of Veterans said Wednesday (Appleby, 4/17).

Bloomberg: Cancer Doctors Plan To Compare Value Of Expensive Drugs 
The world’s largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients. The American Society of Clinical Oncology is weighing efficacy, side effects and price using an algorithm to determine the relative value of drugs, focusing first on therapies for advanced cases of lung and prostate cancer and for multiple myeloma, said Richard Schilsky, the group’s chief medical officer (Damouni and Langreth, 4/17).

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