High Drug Prices Forcing Patients to Make Risky Choices


The "broken" drug pricing system in the U.S. is forcing some patients to make decisions that can negatively impact their health, experts warn.

One internist and associate executive director for The Permanente Medical Group, said an example of this is one of his congestive heart failure patients, who ended up in the emergency room because of poor care management. She had only been taking her medications every other day because she was unable to afford them.

High Drug Prices Are Actually Affecting the Decisions Patients Make

Poor medication adherence made this patient sicker, but also made her care costlier when she visited the ER. The rising cost of drugs has also led some patients to seek alternatives—such as purchasing drugs overseas—which are risky.This is really affecting their lives.

The event revealed the problems with high-cost prescription meds in the U.S. and efforts to cut costs, including the administration's recently-unveiled: American Patient First program (see PLAN).

The Plan has been a major focus at the Food and Drug Administration for about a year and the agency has launched a number of initiatives – with several in the pipeline - aimed at increasing competition in drug markets.

While drug prices have been a central focus for the administration, they haven't led to major congressional action—at least not yet.In Congress, the focus has been far more on the opioid epidemic, although several hearings on drug pricing and the blueprint have been held over the past couple of months.

Drug prices continue to be a key issue for some legislators.

The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar hard last week on President Donald Trump's promise that (click url for US Gov 44-page PDF Report): "massive" drug price drops from major pharmaceutical companies were imminent.

President Donald Trump has unveiled the administration's policy plan to tackle the rising cost of drugs: "American Patients First."

The plan focuses on four central goals:

  1. Increasing competition.
  2. Easing negotiation.
  3. Creating incentives to lower prices.
  4. Lowering out-of-pocket spending on drugs.

The plan includes actions the administration may take immediately and those that they are considering; it is seeking feedback on these elements from stakeholders. The Food and Drug Administration will begin acting quickly to bring more generics and biosimilars to the market to address competition issues, for example.

The administration plans to pursue ways to encourage sharing samples of generics and education on biosimilars to encourage more physicians to promote them.

SOURCE: FierceHealthcare 

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Sunday, 24 March 2019