Perspectives: It’s Time For Doctors To Step Up To Help Curb High Drug Costs For Patients
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Doctors Need To Factor In Cost When Prescribing Medications
Mr. Jones enters the pharmacy expecting to pick up his prescription. But when he gets to the window, he gets a rude awakening. His acne cream is $200, much too expensive for him to afford. Mr. Jones (not his real name) was told that his doctor needed to fill out paperwork for the insurance to pay for his medication. He leaves the pharmacy upset, and without the prescription. A study my colleagues and I recently published in JAMA Dermatology found that when patients like Mr. Jones do not pick up their prescriptions, out-of-pocket costs are the primary reason why. (Jules Lipoff, 4/3)
Our Willful Ignorance On Drug Prices
This week, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) released a report that sent another shot across the bow of the pharmaceutical industry. List prices for the most common Medicare drugs were found to have risen at nearly 10 times the inflation rate over the last five years. But as usual, we are all fixated on the wrong price. This type of finding is not unique or surprising. It comes on the heels of a similar study showing pharmaceutical prices rose faster than that of all health-care sectors, with a nearly 25 percent increase in merely four years. All for what? (Benedic Ippolito, 3/30)
Humana's Medicare Advantage Boost Could Cost Walmart
The good news just keeps piling up for Humana Inc. The health insurer's shares jumped after a report on Friday that Walmart Inc. may be interested in acquiring it, capping a 251 percent increase over the past five years. And on Monday, the U.S. government announced it would boost payments to insurers who run private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans by nearly twice as much as the government had previously estimated. As the nation's second-largest MA insurer, Humana will be among the largest beneficiaries. (Max Nisen, 4/3)
The Call For Drug-Price Transparency Is Growing Louder -- But Will It Matter?
Last week, in a speech with President Donald Trump at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire, newly appointed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared that one of his priorities is to lower drug prices. He said he would roll out “a whole slate of” proposals for doing so in about a month. Azar didn’t elaborate, but in an address to the Federation of American Hospitals earlier this month, he did say that that a crucial piece of addressing high drug costs would be to force pharmaceutical companies to be more transparent about their pricing practices. (Arlene Weintraub, 3/30)
Medicines Cost Me $10,000 Annually — I Suffer Enough Without The Burden Of High Drug Prices
Every eight weeks when I take out my IV pole from the back of my closet, I am overcome with anxiety. Not because of the ice-cold biological medicine that will run through my veins over the next two hours. Not because of the potentially fatal allergic reaction that could occur. But because of how much this treatment on which I depend is going to cost me. I receive seven Remicade infusions a year to help manage the symptoms of my Crohn’s disease. Even with insurance, I’m asked to pay more than $1,500 for a single infusion. That’s on top of the cost of doctor’s visits, blood work, imaging tests and other prescription drugs I need to take. (Emily Miller, 3/29)
Americans Need Safer Access To Canadian Online Pharmacies
For years, the internet has made it possible for Americans to fill their prescription medications in other countries at significantly lower cost. And this is a good thing, because despite years of public debate and promises from lawmakers to take action, little has been done to bring down pharmaceutical costs in the U.S. Skyrocketing drug prices have created a serious health and economic crisis for millions of Americans. Approximately one-fourth of Americans find it difficult to afford their daily medications, according to a December 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation report. (Tracy Cooley, 4/2)
Alkermes FDA Rejection: The Red Flags Were There
Pulling success from the jaws of disaster is a fantastic plot twist. It's just not always a good foundation for a biotech investment. Angling for an unlikely happy ending for its depression drug, Irish biotech Alkermes PLC hoped the FDA would ignore its failure of two Phase 3 trials in 2016 and would focus instead on a third, successful test. But the agency rejected the company's attempt to file the drug for approval, Alkermes disclosed Monday. The FDA also may want the company to run several expensive new trials before it reconsiders. (Max Nisen, 4/2)