Cost of healthcare in the U.S.

Non adherence costs us all

adherencePOST SUMMARY: Low levels of adherence are extremely expensive.  The main take home point of a CVS Health study is that we need to look more closely at drug adherence in the community setting, not just for disease management, but for cost containment as well. Continue reading »

Drug Costs: How high can they go?

8532826-a-prescription-pill-bottle-with-rolls-of-cash-in-it--concept-or-metaphor-for-cost-of-drugsPOST SUMMARY:Via the WSJ: The first of a promising new class of cancer drugs went on sale in Japan this week at an average annual cost of $143,000 a patient, a harbinger of hefty prices the new drugs are expected to command in the U.S. and Europe in coming months.  Bristol-Myers, which plans to market nivolumab in the U.S. if the FDA clears it for sale, declined to say how much it will charge. A spokeswoman said the company prices its medicines based on “the value they deliver to patients and society, the scientific innovation they represent and the investment required to support” drug research-and-development. Continue reading »

Treating people, not patients

rxdrugsPOST SUMMARY:  70 percent of all Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and 20 percent of all Americans are on at least five prescription drugs and according to the CDC, approximately 9 out of every 10 Americans that are at least 60 years old say that they have taken at least one prescription drug within the last month. Are we treating patients with an Rx when they might need other forms of treatments? Continue reading »

Drug costs high but still better than alternatives

drugcostsPOST SUMMARY: (via Boston Globe) Fewer than 4 percent of patients use specialty drugs, but they account for 25 percent of total drug spending.  “The impact of the specialty tier benefit design falls disproportionately on patients who are living with diseases and conditions that are serious and life-threatening,” said Marialanna Lee, Northeast Region state government affairs director for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Often the specialty drug is the only one available for these conditions, she said. “It’s going to cost more in the long run,” predicts Patricia Ferland Weltin, executive director and founder of the Rare Disease United Foundation. If denied drugs that keep them well, she says, “They’re going to end up in the E.R, they’re going to end up sick, costing more money than if they took the drug. . . . Continue reading »

The staggering cost of diabetes

diabetesciostsPOST SUMMARY: The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 is $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity. The largest components of medical expenditures are: hospital inpatient care (43% of the total medical cost). Here is a story of one person.. Continue reading »

Cost vs. benefit of cancer drugs

costbenefit“Is a $30,000-a-month drug that improves survival by 1.4 months effective?  At the ASCO meeting this week, that dialog has already begun. In a forum on drug costs, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, The architect of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, said costs can no longer be ignored. Emanuel reminded his well-heeled audience that the median household income in the United States is $52,000.  So the key questions are these: (1) Is pharma developing cancer drugs that merely extend life for a short period of time knowing they are likely to be approved and (2) Does pharma see these drugs as a “cash cow” because most insurers are not going to deny patients these treatments? Continue reading »

Pfizer fights generic Lipitor with new promotion

cc_imgPOST SUMMARY: Rather than surrender branded Lipitor sales to generic competition, Pfizer is fighting back by offering patients a “Lipitor Choice” card.  However, insurers can’t be too pleased if patients opt for the more expensive branded product over the much less expensive generic.  Who are the real winners here? Continue reading »

It’s the cost of disease – not the cost of medicines – that threatens the US health care system.

The debate continues on healthcare costs and more and more misinformation is being talked about around the cost of drug development so I wanted to set the record straight.   First it’s important to know that Americans are profoundly unhealthy. America has a bad health problem ; 1 in 4 adults is obese; 1 in 5 smoke; 1 in 3 don’t take the medications prescribed by their physicians.  We need to focus on wellness, not just health care. The fix will be real only when individual Americans have more of an economic incentive to take care of their own health, and less incentive to shift the high cost of their own irresponsible health-care decisions to others and the drug industry. Continue reading »

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