Think the Drug-Pricing debate addresses Patient Costs? Think again.

Think the Drug-Pricing debate addresses Patient Costs? Think again.

Writing for The Hill, BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood tackled the drug pricing debate in Washington and touched on President Trump’s proposals for lowering drug prices.

On the Administration’s recent International Pricing Index (IPI), which would move from a market-based payment formula for Medicare Part B drugs to one based on foreign prices, Greenwood explains:

“Importing foreign price controls will take a wrecking ball to our global leadership in drug innovation. It may save some money for Uncle Sam, but it’s going to make it harder for your uncle Sam to access new medical breakthroughs.”

As it stands, Medicare Part B supports some of the most vulnerable Medicare patients and accounts for only a small fraction of all Medicare spending. Adopting foreign price controls on American innovation through the proposed IPI model puts America’s patients last and diminishes their hope for a better future.

Greenwood also points out that if patients want to see relief at the pharmacy counter, the administration must hold all players in the health care ecosystem accountable for their piece of the pie, including health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers.

“Health plans historically have used flat co-pays to make a patient contribute nominally to their drug costs,” Greenwood notes. “But over the last decade, insurers have shifted their approach, forcing patients to pay much higher up-front costs. Half of all patient cost-sharing is now through high up-front deductibles, according to a recent Peterson-Kaiser study.

To ensure America’s patients have access to medicines they can afford, policymakers must take a holistic approach – one that considers the role middleman play in determining what patients pay out of pocket for drugs.

“[T]o protect their constituents from unaffordable drug expenses, [lawmakers] should cap seniors’ out-of-pocket costs at a reasonable level under Medicare. That would give health-care voters the kind of relief they sought at the ballot box this month, without destroying the innovation ecosystem that has allowed the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry to innovate more new drugs than the rest of the world combined.”

Read the full op-ed here.

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