Tying Drug Prices To What Other Countries Pay: A Pioneering Way To Curb Costs Or The Death Knell For Innovation?
The plan to tie prices of drugs to what other countries pay is a lightning rod in the debate over high drug costs. “The countries in the reference pricing have longer life expectancy, better health outcomes, and spend about half of what we on health care,” says David Mitchell, the president of Patients for Affordable Drugs. On the other side, is PhRMA's Jenny Bryant, who calls the proposal "draconian" and believes it will stifle innovation. Meanwhile, Republicans are siding with the latter position.
Flashpoint: Tying U.S. Drug Prices To What Other Countries Pay
A patient advocate and a pharmaceutical industry representative went head to head Thursday on a proposal to peg U.S. drug prices to how much they cost in other countries — sparring over whether it is an idea whose time has come or the death knell for innovation. Health secretary Alex Azar proposed last month a controversial change to the way Medicare pays for drugs administered in doctors’ offices that would tie some U.S. prices to the cost in other countries. The government would aim to pay about 30 percent less for certain drugs, with the price reduction for individual drugs related in some way to the average price of those drugs in certain other countries. (Cooney, 11/29)
GOP Lawmakers Air Concerns With Trump Drug Pricing Move In Meeting With Health Chief
Republican lawmakers who worked as doctors expressed their concerns about President Trump's controversial proposal to lower drug prices with the president's health chief Thursday. The lawmakers in the GOP Doctors Caucus questioned Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the meeting about a proposal Trump put forward in October to lower certain Medicare drug prices by tying them to lower prices paid in other countries. (Sullivan, 11/29)
In other pharmaceutical news —
HHS Finalizes Long-Awaited 340B Drug Price Rule
HHS on Thursday said it will allow a rule imposing ceiling prices on the 340B drug discount program to go into effect next year, after years of delays. The long-postponed rule will go into effect on Jan. 1, instead of the earlier-announced July 1, 2019 date, according to a finalized rulemaking. HHS has delayed the effective date of the ceiling price rule five times. The change will cap the prices drugmakers can charge hospitals that participate in 340B. (Dickson, 11/29)
An FDA Approval Could Come At A Major Cost For Patients
But [Vickie] Moored, along with others who share her rare neuromuscular disorder, are concerned that their fortunes could change. The cost of the treatment will likely skyrocket — from next to nothing to potentially more than $100,000 without insurance — now that the Food and Drug Administration has approved a medicine to treat their disease, Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome. ...The reality is that physicians have been prescribing 3,4-DAP, a nearly identical treatment, off-label, since the 1980s. It was never formally approved by the FDA; instead, LEMS patients pay about $300 to $500 a month to get the drug from a compounding pharmacy. That, or they’ve been supplied with the drug — for no charge — from the New Jersey-based Jacobus Pharmaceutical Co. (Keshavan, 11/30)
Cassidy Calls Pharma’s Pushback On Drug Prices In TV Ads ‘Patronizing’
A Republican senator isn’t buying the drug industry’s arguments against a proposal to put drug prices in television ads.“It’s incredibly patronizing to think the patient will not make a wise decision for herself,” Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said Thursday at an event hosted by STAT on drug pricing and the incoming Congress. (Cooney and Florko, 11/29)
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