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Everyone Knows Drug Prices Are A Problem … Except Pharma

posted by Alicia Caramenico

on July 23, 2015

Health care experts, physicians, researchers, health plans, policymakers, Medicaid directors, patients – they all recognize how dangerous dramatic drug price increases are becoming for our patients and our health care system. As this week’s news coverage showed, pharmaceutical companies are still oblivious to how their six-figure price tags affect patients who need lifesaving treatments.

The situation is unaffordable and unsustainable, and stakeholders from across the health care industry are pushing back against outrageous drug costs in the name of value and affordability. Here’s what they have to say:

  • “The drug companies are shameless, and they charge what they can get away with.” – Mitch Greenlick (D-OR), chairman of the Health Care Committee in Oregon’s House of Representatives (New York Times)
  • “We all look at each other and keep pace with each other. Honestly, there is no science to it.”  – Director of one multiple sclerosis drug developer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity (New York Times)
  • “There is no relief in sight because drug companies keep challenging the market with even higher prices. This raises the question of whether current pricing of cancer drugs is based on reasonable expectation of return on investment or whether it is based on what prices the market can bear.”  – 118 prominent cancer doctors (Mayo Clinic Proceedings)
  • “There are so many drugs whose actual value is debatable, and despite that, their price is astronomical.” – Ayalew Tefferi, a professor of medicine and consultant in hematology at the Mayo Clinic (Washington Post)
  • “What we’re fighting is the greed. The greed and the additional maneuvering that is being exercised after you’ve already recouped what you’ve invested.” – Ayalew Teffer (Wall Street Journal)
  • “These are very prominent names from very prominent institutes from all over the country signing this commentary. [The commentary] “shows we’re reaching this tipping point.” – Ronan Kelly, an oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center (Politico Pro)

Health plans will continue to voice concerns over astronomical drug prices creating barriers to access and financial burdens for consumers. Will pharmaceutical companies ever listen?