Ever Wonder Why Rx Drugs Cost So Much In The U.S.?
The Wall Street Journal examines the cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. compared with other developed nations while other news outlets report that Express Scripts will offer a lower-cost alternative to a $750-per-pill medication made by Turing Pharmaceuticals. In the background, STAT finds that public opinion supports government actions to hold down drug costs -- such as allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies.
The Wall Street Journal:
Why The U.S. Pays More Than Other Countries For Drugs
Norway, an oil producer with one of the world’s richest economies, is an expensive place to live. A Big Mac costs $5.65. A gallon of gasoline costs $6. But one thing is far cheaper than in the U.S.: prescription drugs. A vial of the cancer drug Rituxan cost Norway’s taxpayer-funded health system $1,527 in the third quarter of 2015, while the U.S. Medicare program paid $3,678. An injection of the asthma drug Xolair cost Norway $463, which was 46% less than Medicare paid for it. (Whalen, 11/30)
The Associated Press:
Express Scripts Offers Low-Cost Alternative To Turing Drug
Other drugmakers have also recently purchased the rights to old, cheap medicines that are the only treatment for serious diseases and then hiked prices. The practice has triggered government investigations, politicians' proposals to fight "price gouging," and heavy media scrutiny. The Express Scripts decision means that a cheaper alternative to Daraprim created by Imprimis Pharmaceuticals will now be available to about 25 million customers through its formulary. What those customers pay will depend on their insurance coverage. That could mean prescriptions that come with a co-payment as low as $10 or $20 for the whole bottle of pills. (12/1)
The New York Times:
Top Prescription Plan To Offer $1 Alternative To $750 Pill
Turing Pharmaceuticals’ effort to charge $750 a pill for a 62-year-old drug is facing a new headwind: The nation’s largest prescription drug manager plans to back an alternative that costs only $1 per pill. The prescription drug manager, Express Scripts, was expected to announce on Tuesday that it will promote use of a compounded medicine that contains the same active ingredient as the Turing drug, Daraprim. (Pollack, 12/1)
STAT-Harvard Poll: Dismayed By Drug Prices, Public Supports Democrats' Ideas
Most Americans believe that the prices of brand-name prescription drugs have become unreasonable, and their dismay is leading to wide support for government action to keep costs down, including letting Medicare negotiate prices with drug companies, according to a new poll by STAT and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (Nather, 12/1)