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High U.S. Drug Prices: Health Policy Log

Name, Sponsor, Link to the Event

Name: U.S. drug prices: Why are they so high?

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Sponsor: Reuters.

Place, Date, Length of the Event

Place: The Forum, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Date: September 26, 2018.

Length of the event: 1 hour (Noon-1pm ET).

Names of Participants and Their Titles

Caroline Humer, Reuters Health & Pharma Correspondent.

Leemore Dafny, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School.

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Richard Frank, Professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School.

Aaron Kesselheim, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Director of the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL).

Steven Pearson, President of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.

Brief Summary of the Topic Discussed

Experts discuss the situation associated with the costs of pharmaceuticals and prescriptions that patients get at hospitals in the US. During the conversation, professionals note that the cost of drugs in the US is higher than in other wealthy countries. Several factors impact the price, including pharmaceutical companies, employers, health care providers, patients, legal actors, and others. Experts aim to demystify the process of drug cost establishment in the US and discuss several key points, such as regulations and price negotiation, that influence the situation.

My Analysis of the Health Policy Issue and Its Implications for Health Care

The cost of healthcare services, drugs, and associated medical activities is suggested to be high in the United States. Despite having a variety of factors that have an impact on the situation, including competitive market pressures, expensive research and development tests, and regulation guidelines, there is the fact that Americans must pay for pharmaceuticals (“U.S. drug prices: Why are they so high?” 2018). It is stated that total medical expenditure by patients in the US approaches 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and makes the cost of drug a national concern with broad economic, social, and political effects (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2018).

Experts at the Forum state that Americans struggle with allocating financial resources for medical expenses (“U.S. drug prices: Why are they so high?” 2018). The situation leads to adverse challenges for physicians and patients, such as skipping the necessary prescribed dosage, insurance issues that make people spend more on drugs, or getting a lower quality of medication and healthcare services. It is noted that the nominal spending on medicines increased by around 5% year over a year till 2019 (Mikulic, 2020). Nonetheless, the increase in drug expenditures by patients is primarily accounted for the purchase of low-cost generic medicines that might have controversial outcomes for people (The IQVIA Institute, 2016). Experts note that price negotiation with health care providers and the incentive to fight hard for fair medicine prices are substantially weakened.

As time passes, new challenges arise and show that the US’s cost and quality of services can be substantially regulated yet being competitive. Coronavirus fight and development of effective vaccines among big companies and startups, including Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, might considerably affect the cost of drugs and the quality of healthcare services (Karlin-Smith, 2020). The crisis associated with the pandemic showed that the value of the drug development in the US is high and has to be addressed through incentives of authorities that manage regulations and negotiate the price of drugs (Karlin-Smith, 2020).

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Considering challenges that healthcare authorities should address, there can be named several associated with the cost and quality of drugs and health services provided in the American medical organizations. It is stated that the incidence of preexisting conditions and poorer health outcomes for specific groups of people who do not have access to proper healthcare provision is higher than for those who have adequate insurance and financial security (Calsyn & Waldrop, 2020). Authorities are determined to improve the situation and provide affordable and effective therapies and services via Medicare and other programs (GHELI, 2018). Nevertheless, experts urge the government to provide a comprehensive plan on lowering drug prices and establishing insurance options that would help American to get necessary healthcare (Calsyn & Waldrop, 2020).

Experts state that 75% of patients believe that drug prices are a significant issue that contributes to the economic safety and social development of the US (“U.S. drug prices: Why are they so high?” 2018). Professionals see potential in identifying a fair value-based price on drugs and services to get a deeper discount than Medicaid or Medicare programs offer. Therefore, it is essential to leverage cost-effective programs and strategies that would link patients and relevant services and drug provision and decrease possible adverse outcomes for patients and the country.

References

Calsyn, M. & Waldrop, T. (2020). How the next administration can lower drug prices. Center for American Progress. Web.

GHELI (Global Health Education and Learning Incubator). (2018). Pharmaceutical costs resource pack. Web.

Karlin-Smith, S. (2020). How the drug industry got its way on the coronavirus. Politico. Web.

Mikulic, M. (2020). Total nominal spending on medicines in the U.S. from 2002 to 2019. Statista. Web.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018). Making medicines affordable: a national imperative. The National Academies Press. Web.

The IQVIA Institute. (2016). Medicines use and spending in the U.S. IQVIA. Web.

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U.S. drug prices: Why are they so high? (2018). The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, September 8). High U.S. Drug Prices: Health Policy Log. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/high-u-s-drug-prices-health-policy-log/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, September 8). High U.S. Drug Prices: Health Policy Log. https://studycorgi.com/high-u-s-drug-prices-health-policy-log/

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "High U.S. Drug Prices: Health Policy Log." September 8, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/high-u-s-drug-prices-health-policy-log/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'High U.S. Drug Prices: Health Policy Log'. 8 September.

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