“This is the golden age of drug discovery,” said Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, chief scientific and medical officer of Eli Lilly and Company. The burden on patients who cannot afford life-changing new drugs weighs heavily on him and others who work for drug companies. Really?
The new Inflation Bill will not reduce healthcare costs in the U.S. Why? An analysis predicts that by 2030, 48.9% of adults in the United States will be obese, and 24.2% will be severely obese. Annual obesity-related medical care costs in the United States, in 2019 dollars, were estimated to be nearly $173 billion. Annual nationwide productivity costs of obesity-related absenteeism range between $3.38 billion and $6.38 billion. While some medical issues cause obesity, the most significant cause is eating the wrong foods and lack of exercise.
- About three in ten adults report not taking their medicines as prescribed at some point in the past year because of the cost. This includes about one in five who report that they have not filled a prescription or took an over-the counter drug instead, and about one in ten who say they have cut pills in half or skipped a dose.
- The public sees profits made by pharmaceutical companies as the largest factor contributing to the price of prescription drugs. About eight in ten across partisans say profits made by pharmaceutical companies are a “major factor” in the price of prescription drugs.
- The May 2021 KFF Health Tracking Poll finds about two-thirds of adults say there is “not as much regulation as there should be” when it comes to limiting the price of prescription drugs.
- There are proposals to allow the federal government to negotiate with drug companies to get a lower price on medications that would apply to both Medicare and private insurance and the KFF Health Tracking Poll finds majorities support this proposal, regardless of party identification
Source: Public Opinion on Prescription Drugs and Their Prices, Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues. KFF.org
SUMMARY: Democratic lawmakers are weighing whether to include drug pricing measures that could extract tens of billions of dollars from the industry. “Something is coming. We’re just not sure when,” said one drug industry lobbying source. The industry should have seen this coming a long time ago as the excuse that they need high prices to fund R&D isn’t true anymore.
THOUGHT: The reports of “pharma goodwill” were premature. At least three major pharmaceutical companies are ringing in the new year by raising drug prices on a range of products, according to Reuters, in the midst of a pandemic that has taken a serious toll on healthcare systems and limited regular interactions with patients. Business as usual.
SUMMARY: (JAMA) The median drug wholesale list price (as defined by Average Wholesale Price) increased by 129% from 2010-2016, while median patient out-of-pocket costs increased by 53% and median insurance payments after rebates and discounts increased by 64%. Say goodbye to all the supposed goodwill.
SUMMARY: Via Consumer Reports “How much a consumer pays for meds is also driven in part by drug supply system middlemen whose wheeling and dealing with drugmakers contributes to rising drug costs, according to multiple government reports and industry experts. Shrinking insurance coverage is another part of the problem, with greater numbers of Americans paying a larger share or even the full price of their medication.
KEY TAKEAWAY: The public sees profits made by pharmaceutical companies as a major factor contributing to the price of prescription drugs. Majorities of the public trust pharmaceutical companies (either “a lot” or “somewhat”) to be good stewards in terms of developing new effective drugs (71 percent), and offering reliable information to consumers about drug safety and side effects (65 percent) as well as drug efficacy (61 percent).