A sizable majority of Americans say prescription drug costs are unreasonable (77 percent!), according to a 2016 Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
That poll comes in the wake of some highly publicized cost increases by drugmakers, as well as the steep increase in prescription spending over the last 10-15 years.
According to the American Medical Association, “between 2004 and 2014 [Medicare’s] US drug expenditures increased from 2% of $193 billion to 29% percent of $298 billion.”
We’ve explored the need for transparent pharmaceutical benefits, as well as the dangers of specialty drugs (and price gouging), but it seems there’s a larger scale awakening to the problem–and people in power willing to do something about it.
Despite Big Pharma’s best attempts to block it, Maryland last year passed a law that allows the state attorney general to “sue makers of generic or off-patent drugs for an ‘unconscionable’ price increase, one that isn’t justified by the cost of making or distributing the drug,” according to Healthline.
The law, which went into effect last October, could cost manufacturers up to $10,000 for each violation, or require them to roll back price increases.
Similarly, California passed a drug transparency law in 2017 (SB 17) that requires drugmakers to notify the state government and publicly defend price hikes of more than 16 percent in a two-year period.
While NPR quoted a Big Pharma spokesperson as saying the bill shows “no evidence that SB 17 will lower drug costs for patients,” early evidence shows that the bill is having positive effects in California.
This month, champions of SB 17 are celebrating early results of the law.
As reported by Bloomberg, “Novartis AG, Gilead Sciences Inc., Roche Holding AG and Novo Nordisk A/S sent notices to California health plans rescinding or reducing previously announced price hikes on at least 10 drugs,” all in a three-week period.
At Captiva Benefit Solutions, we are dedicated to pharmaceutical transparency. We fight for the best discounts, push back against exorbitant costs, and find cost-cutting measures such as centers of excellence and foregoing industry-backed, expensive drugs in favor of less-expensive alternatives and generics.
It’s encouraging to see the tide turning in this regard, and all indications point to laws like this beginning to spread throughout the country.
While governments duel with the pharmaceutical industry, consider Captiva as your company’s advocate to keep costs in check and provide solutions that fit your organization’s needs.