Perspectives On Drug Prices: Neediest Patients Aren’t Seeing Benefits From Rebates
A selection of opinions on drug costs from around the country.
Rebates Offset Drug Prices -- Why Not Let Patients Benefit?
American spending on retail prescription drugs hit $425 billion, according to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. That, and year-over-year growth of around 12 percent is likely to capture headlines. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that rebates and other discounts that pharmaceutical companies offer insurers slashed that spending to $310 billion. For patent-protected-drugs this is especially important – these price concessions cut price growth by between 77 and 81 percent. That’s great news for the health care system and for insurers – but unfortunately, the neediest patients with the highest costs don’t benefit much from these concessions. That’s due for a change. (Yevgenity Feyman, 4/26)
The Huffington Post:
The Insurance Companies’ Latest Target: Specialty Drugs
Read the headlines these days and you’d think the health insurance companies are going broke. It’s true most insurers offering Obamacare are losing money on it. UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, announced it will all but exit Obamacare next year because of those loses. But insurance companies have not fallen on hard times. Anything but. (Paul Alexander, 4/25)
The Columbus Dispatch:
Trade Deal Unlikely To Hike Drug Costs
No argument against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement packs more emotional punch than the claim that the deal would be bad for people's health — and even result in avoidable deaths — both in the United States and in the 11 other signatory nations. The argument, repeated most recently in a letter to Congress from the U.S. branches of Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam America and about 50 other organizations, is that the TPP would unduly extend U.S. patent and intellectual property protections for the pharmaceutical industry, thus driving up prices for lifesaving medicines. In fact, the letter argues, the "TPP would do more to undermine access to affordable medicines than any previous U.S. trade agreement." (4/26)
The Health Care Blog:
Your Drugs Are About To Get More Expensive
Medicare drug plans are governed by federal law. But for the rest of us with a drug plan, the state in which we reside generally regulates drug plans and pharmacy benefits. When pharmacists descend on state capitols they often find a sympathetic ear in state legislators. (Devon Herrick)
Repurposing Old Drugs Saves Time And Money
Humans have been “repurposing” for centuries. Today we turn old churches into museums, schoolhouses into condos, old tires into artificial turf, and plastic bottles into dress pants. Drugs have become a new and exciting target for this activity. Two high-profile examples in the drug world are sildenafil and minoxidil. Both began as medications for cardiovascular issues. But along the way, it became clear that they did other things even better. Sildenafil, rebranded as Viagra, helps some men with erectile dysfunction get and sustain erections. Minoxidil helps hair grow, which spawned Rogaine. (David E. Potter, 4/26)