Our effort—the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Prices—has been sounding the alarm for more than a year that pharmaceutical companies must come to the table with meaningful solutions to the challenge of rising drug costs. Otherwise, companies risk the rising tide of consumer anger resulting in solutions that are not constructive for anyone.
“Breakthrough treatments such as Praluent hold tremendous medical promise for certain patients, but its price tag makes us question how long the health system can sustain these costs for patients managing chronic conditions over several years,” John Rother, president of the National Coalition on Health Care, said in a statement.
As complaints grow about exorbitant drug prices, pharmaceutical companies are coming under pressure to disclose the development costs and profits of those medicines and the rationale for charging what they do.
Amid the growing clamor, cancer medication has drawn particular ire. The average price of new cancer drugs in the U.S. increased five- to tenfold over 15 years, to more than $100,000 a year in 2012, according to the Mayo Clinic journal editorial.
In recent years, increasingly specialized medications and an aging population that takes more drugs have substantially boosted the price of treatments for cancer, hepatitis C, cystic fibrosis and other diseases.
The $1,000 pill for a liver-wasting viral infection that made headlines last year is no longer the favorite of patients and doctors. The new leading pill for hepatitis C is more expensive, and the number of patients seeking a cure has surged.
Around the U.S., people with serious diseases are falling through the cracks, unable to afford the medication they need. Patients with HIV, cancer, lupus, leukemia, hepatitis C and other serious conditions are paying huge out-of-pocket sums for necessary medication. These costs are putting heavy mental and financial stress on some of America’s most vulnerable people.
A new PricewaterhouseCoopers report on medical cost trends highlights how specialty drugs are outpacing traditional drugs in a major way.
The rising cost of specialty drugs to treat complex, chronic or life-threatening conditions has the potential to break the pocket books of businesses, consumers, insurance companies and the state, according to Milam Ford of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
We need to make clear that monopoly grants come with responsibility and accountability, and that competition is more important to the public than a blank check for innovation we cannot afford.