From the Consumer Health Digest
An ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has issued a 235-page report on Making Medicines Affordable: A National Imperative. The report includes 14 findings about the complexity of the biopharmaceutical marketplace, 18 findings about factors influencing affordability of prescription drugs, and these eight recommendations (each accompanied by suggested actions):
- Accelerate the market entry and use of safe and effective generics as well as biosimilars, and foster competition to ensure the continued affordability and availability of these products.
- Consolidate and apply government purchasing power, strengthen formulary design, and improve drug valuation methods. This includes modifying existing legislation to allow the Dept. of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices for Medicare and other programs (p. 127).
- Assure greater transparency of financial flows and profit margins in the biopharmaceutical supply chain.
- Promote the adoption of industry codes of conduct, and discourage direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs as well as direct financial incentives for patients.
- Modify insurance benefits designed to mitigate prescription drug cost burdens for patients.
- Eliminate misapplication of funds and inefficiencies in federal discount programs that are intended to aid vulnerable populations.
- Ensure that financial incentives for the prevention and treatment of rare diseases are not extended to widely sold drugs.
- Increase available information and implement reimbursement incentives to more closely align clinicians’ prescribing practices with treatment value.
Pages 52 and 53 cover Medicare drug price negotiation in detail. Pages 96 to 98 discuss drug reimportation. The full report can be read online or downloaded free of charge by registered users of the Academy’s site.