Perspectives: Drug Prices Problem In U.S. Requires Major Surgery. Trump Just Gave Us A Band-Aid.
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Los Angeles Times:
Trump's Budget Plan Offers Little More Than A Band-Aid For Soaring Drug Prices
President Trump repeatedly has declared his unwavering commitment to improving healthcare and lowering drug prices. On Monday, he unveiled a $4.4-trillion budget plan that pointedly avoids taking meaningful steps to accomplish those goals. Instead, it offers tepid half-measures that are little more than Band-Aids for problems requiring major surgery. (David Lazarus, 2/12)
Trump’s Promise On Drug Prices Looks Pretty Empty
President Donald Trump on Tuesday night pledged to bring down the price of prescription drugs. You should take this pledge as seriously as you take any other policy pledge of his ― which is to say, you shouldn’t take it seriously. Trump’s promise came about halfway into the State of the Union speech, and it was the most substantive thing he had to say on health care all night. (The Affordable Care Act, which was a primary focus of last year’s joint address to Congress, got barely any mention at all.) (Jonathan Cohn, 1/30)
Legal Challenges To State Drug Pricing Laws
In recent years, growth in spending on prescription drugs has been fueled by high prices of new therapeutic products, increases in the prices of available brand-name drugs, and substantial price increases for a small fraction of older generic drugs. ...While the federal government has yet to enact major reforms, in 2017 some states passed laws intended to help manage and shed light on pharmaceutical prices. Most of these state legislative efforts have been challenged in court by industry associations that seek to invalidate these laws and stop them from going into effect. ...Even though these early decisions are being appealed, this review of the key issues at stake suggests that other states have a sound legal basis to take similar and even more expansive action to restrain drug prices and impose transparency requirements. (Theodore T Lee, Aaron S. Kesselheim, Amy Kapczynski, 2/12)
Drug Price Growth Slows, Political Pressure Doesn't
Pharma's pricing power just isn't what it used to be, and it's probably not going to recover any time soon. Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) Express Scripts Holding Co. last week reported a record-low 1.5 percent increase in drug spending by commercial health insurance plans in 2017. It also said per-beneficiary drug spending fell for many commercial plans and gave a discouraging forecast -- for drugmakers, anyway -- for the years ahead. (Max Nisen, 2/13)
Biosimilars: Cure For High Drug Prices Or Stake In The Heart Of Innovation?
The impact of drugs known as biologics is immense. Millions of patients are now treated with medications in this fast-growing class of therapeutic products and the market continues to grow. Biosimilars — medications designed to be similar or interchangeable with biologics — should further increase access to treatment and lower costs for patients facing serious diseases. But whether or not biosimilars will be able to make significant inroads into this market is still an open question. (Michelle Hoffmann, 2/8)
Is Federal Policy Really To Blame For The High Cost Of Cancer Care?
U.S. healthcare costs have been high for decades, outpacing other developed countries since at least the 1980s. But costs continue to rise, and that is causing many experts to ask why. Some people blame federal policies. As an example, they point to reimbursement policies that create incentives for healthcare providers to consolidate. When hospitals merge with each other, or when hospitals buy out physician practices, healthcare providers gain negotiating leverage over insurers, which enables them to negotiate higher prices. But what evidence do we have that federal policies are to blame for such consolidation? (Peter Ubel, 2/8)
How Much Profit Should Novartis Earn By Curing A Childhood Leukemia?
Last August, Novartis launched a new product that can cure the deadly childhood leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The product, known as Kymriah, is the first of a class of therapies based on CAR-T technologies whereby a patient’s T-cells are removed, genetically modified, and then reintroduced to the same patient. These newly modified T-cells are then able to seek out and destroy one’s cancer cells. (John LaMattina, 2/12)
Bill Would Unfairly Single Out Drug Manufacturers
State Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, never has aimed to add a bunch more laws or regulations to the state. He wrote that Oregon needed “de-Legislators who will lessen the burdens placed on Oregon’s businesses, families and individuals. ”But he is one of the chief sponsors of a bill to add burdens on prescription drug companies. And it’s a bill that the Legislature should not support. (2/12)