Perspectives: Just How Expensive Do Prescription Drugs Need To Be To Fund Innovative Research?
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Do Prescription Drugs Really Have To Be So Expensive?
How is it that pharmaceutical companies can charge patients $100,000, $200,000, or even $500,000 a year for drugs—many of which are not even curative? Abiraterone, for instance, is a drug used to treat metastatic prostate cancer. The Food and Drug Administration initially approved it in 2011 to treat patients who failed to respond to previous chemotherapy. It does not cure anyone. The research suggests that in previously treated patients with metastatic prostate cancer, the drug extends life on average by four months. (Last year, the FDA approved giving abiraterone to men with prostate cancer who had not received previous treatment.) At its lowest price, it costs about $10,000 a month. (Ezekiel J. Emanuel, 3/23)
States Are Tackling America's Drug Pricing Problem
Congressional hearings into America’s drug pricing problem reveal the challenges policymakers face as they confront a powerful industry’s pricing practices, but states have been on these front lines for years. Dozens have passed laws to lower the pharmaceutical price trajectory, and their work can inform the current debate. Unlike Congress, states must balance their budgets every year and know firsthand the impact of high and unpredictable drug prices. They began addressing drug cost increases years ago, becoming what the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called “laboratories of experimentation” and what today’s economists call “business disruptors.” (Trish Riley,3/23)
Here's Why Drug Prices Are So Difficult To Bring Down
Talk about a dichotomy. These both happened last week. The AARP launched its “Stop Rx Greed ” campaign to lower drug prices. The message is that Americans are spending an excessive amount on prescription drugs, the cost of which likely topped $330 billion in 2018. By comparison, the highly lucrative NFL generated less than $15 billion during the 2017 season. On the same day this message blasted out, I was attending a health care conference where biopharma management enthralled the crowded room with descriptions of potential curative therapies for rare diseases that would generate sales of $1 billion annually. The patient population for some of these products is only 1,000, implying a cost per person of $1 million. (Karen Firestone, 3/24)
Drug Prices Are A Matter Of Life And Death
Few issues are more pressing today than out-of-control drug prices. One in four Americans are unable to afford their medications, and many of them are rationing — or altogether giving up — the very treatments they need to live, sometimes with fatal consequences. As Kathy Sego — whose diabetic son, Hunter, was rationing his insulin to save money — put it earlier this year before Congress, addressing the drug pricing crisis is "literally a matter of life and death." (Lauren Aronson, 3/21)
Biosimilar Approval And Adoption In The U.S. Needs To Be Expedited
Generic versions of brand-name small-molecule drugs saved Americans more than $1 trillion between 1999 and 2010. Biosimilars now have the potential to create substantial savings on complex biologic drugs, but only if we can remove the unnecessary barriers that stall their approval and adoption. (Carlos Sattler and Sheila Frame March, 3/20)