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.

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?

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. . . .