Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Reining in Drug Prices: Easier Said than Done

Encouraging generics, ditching 'pay for delay,' easing regulations suggested

by Joyce Frieden, News Editor, MedPage Today August 01, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Some of the so-called solutions for reducing the price of prescription drugs are not as easy as they seem, experts said at a panel here hosted by the Alliance for Health Policy.

Ideas such as having the federal government negotiate drug prices or allowing importation of prescription drugs from other countries "sound good, but they're probably not going to work, or get through Congress," former House member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said at the event on Friday. "So we need to look at the problem in a more narrow way in order to get bipartisan support."

Steve Miller, MD, chief medical officer of Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit manager, gave an example of his company's use of paying for value. "We started the price war for hepatitis C drugs; we were able to get the price down to an [incredible] extent," he said (The hepatitis C treatment Solvadi cost close to $100,000 in 2014). "The old treatment for hepatitis C was ribavirin and interferon; that used to be $35,000. We now have the price of the current crop of hepatitis C treatments at $35,000, which is cheaper than they are in Europe."

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On this blog
The controversy over expensive new drugs for hepatitis C
Link to research and news articles addressing the high cost of hepatitis C drugs; insurance restrictions - private insurers/Medicaid - and availability of generic versions/India, Egypt and other lower-income countries or through online "buyers clubs"  

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