By Ferdous Al-Faruque
May 21, 2014
The top health insurance lobbyist in the country says stakeholders are at a “crossroad” on addressing the growing cost of specialty medications themselves before the government steps in.
During a panel discussion Wednesday, Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said insurance companies, drugmakers and pharmacy benefit managers have been able to work well together to resolve issues in the past. Specialty drugs, however, such as Gilead’s hepatitis C-fighting Sovaldi, which costs $1,000 a pill, have forced the issue.
“We need to sit together to begin talking about this before the government has to,” Ignagni said.
She warned the increasing cost of drugs like Sovaldi threatens to “blow up” budgets for families, employers and state Medicaid funds.
Ignagni said there are a few areas where government can step in to help reduce the cost of drugs, such as requiring comparative effectiveness research to help decide how much a medication is really worth.