This month we include insight from Sheri Sellmeyer about the US bill aiming to lower drug prices and we’ve summarised the drug reviews that have been conducted in the UK, France and Germany over the past month. If you have any questions regarding the information below please contact Cath at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE NOTE: All information reported in the blog represents the views of FINGERPOST and/or the individuals credited and do not reflect the views or opinions of other organisations that may be mentioned in context.
USA: U.S. bill that would lower drug prices heads to House vote
The current impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has overshadowed a huge event in the world of drug pricing and reimbursement – a proposed bill to lower drug costs in the United States.
The bill would allow the government to negotiate lower prices for at least 35 high-cost drugs each year, provided the drugs do not have at least two generic competitors. The prices would apply to both Medicare (covering seniors) and those who are privately insured – more than 280 million people.
This would be a sea change for the United States. Unlike other countries, the U.S. does not regulate the prices of new prescription drugs, and it allows every drug proven safe to come into the market, regardless of whether the benefit is determined to justify the cost.
The bill is considered likely to be passed by the Democratic-majority House, but faces stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate. The drug industry argues that lowering drug prices would lower profits, which would make the industry less attractive to investors and result in less research for new cures. A recent blog post on PhRMA, the leading biopharmaceutical trade group, argues that the drug pricing plan would hurt the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s, which affects 5.4 million Americans, predicted to grow to 14 million by 2050.
Lowering the cost of prescription drugs was a major tenet of President Trump’s campaign platform, but he has yet to gain any traction on his own proposals. A plan to require drug companies to disclose their prices in television ads was struck down by a federal judge. His blueprint for lowering drug costs published in spring 2018 lists a number of proposals, including “take steps to end the gaming of regulatory and patent processes by drug makers to unfairly protect monopolies.” He has frequently complained that other countries use socialized healthcare to command unfairly low prices from U.S. drug makers, putting the burden of financing drug development on Americans.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would save Medicare $345 billion over seven years. About a fourth of Americans say they have difficulty paying for their drugs – a percentage that goes to 33% for those with low incomes, 38% for those taking four or more prescription drugs, and 43% for those in fair or poor health, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on healthcare issues.
Prescription drugs in the U.S. cost on average more than 50% than in other developed markets, according to analysis by information and analytics company IHS Markit. Prices for cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and nervous system drugs average about 80% lower in other developed countries. For example, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average price of the blood-thinner drug Xarelto is more than double that in the United Kingdom.
The House bill could reach the floor for debate next week. In the meantime, House Democrats are debating the bill among themselves, with some arguing the proposed law doesn’t go far enough to negotiate prices and others concerned about crafting a bill that’s palatable to the Senate.
Thanks to Sheri Sellmeyer for submitting this article. To find out more about Sheri, you can access her Linked In profile via our Global Associates tab.
Health technology appraisal published during October: UK, France, Germany
See the slideshow below for the HTA summary tables. Get in touch if you have any questions or would like to see HTA outcomes for other markets in future Global Round-ups.