Why are high-cost drugs such a problem for the health care system?
Prescription drugs are an important part of the health care system and patients rely on medicines to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, prices for prescription drugs have soared in recent years, with the price of a single medicine often exceeding an average American’s annual income, putting a severe burden on employers as well as on consumer premiums.
Not only are drug manufacturers launching products with high prices, they are routinely raising the prices of existing drugs — even decades-old drugs — by double-digit rates. A recent analysis found that price increases of many drugs dramatically outpaced inflation, even when demand for the product was falling.
To improve access to prescription drugs and to make new treatments more affordable, health care stakeholders should promote policies that preserve needed innovation and competition, while also promoting greater transparency to improve the value of prescription drugs for patients.