American College of Physicians Urges Prescription Drug Cost Reform

Transparency in the cost, pricing, and comparative value for all pharmaceutical products among proposed revisions.

A policy paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine is pushing for changes in the marketplace to help slow down the steadily increasing cost of prescription drugs.

Costly medications can have a detrimental effect on patients. Numerous studies have been conducted finding an association between the rise in cost and the unlikelihood of medication adherence.

Individuals affected by high costs may choose to forgo prescription refills or disrupt and delay their medication schedule.

However, addressing this issue is challenging because research, development, regulation, and payment systems are heavily intertwined.

In fact, competition alone may not be as effective in encouraging innovation or controlling costs, the study found. This is especially true without transparency that is required for true price competition.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) has come up with a series of recommendations that could address the cost issue and slow down the rate of drug price increases.

ACP believes there should be transparency in the cost, pricing, and comparative value for all pharmaceutical products; restrictions on the use of quality adjusted life years in comparative efficacy research should be eliminated; and incorporating new approaches that encourage value-based decision making.

Additionally, novel approaches that include the ability for price negotiation by Medicare and other publicly funded health programs should be used. Patient cost-sharing should no longer be set at a level that imposes a substantial economic barrier for patients, and policies on biosimilar drugs should be created that helps limit patient confusion between originator and biosimilar products.