Getting Closer To Price Transparency
Your voices are heard! Due to pressure from their constituents many being Independent Pharmacists and Organizations representing them, legislators are taking interest in ways to oversee the rising cost of medications by proposing two important House Bills (H.B.’s). Some argue that these proposed bills are not the answer and it’s safe to assume they are probably right.
It will take more than two house bills to get this under control… I believe most of our members would agree with that as well although we can’t be 100% cynical! With that said, let’s put our happy hats on and focus on the positive by agreeing with that at the very least these bills are a step in the right direction. It also brings nationwide attention to the topic of “rising drug costs” which we will gladly take!
Below is a simplified explanation of each bill:
House Bill 2951 – Benefits Patients
H.B. 2951 presents the idea of:
- Capping copays at a $100 for a 30-day supply.
- Prohibiting medications from being contingent on deductibles.
Some believe this may cause drug costs to shift towards other areas of the Pharmaceutical supply chain. This is where further oversight and the next proposed comes into play. The coupling of the two could make real strides toward cost containment.
House Bill 3486 – Benefits Pharmacies & Patients
H.B. 3486 will require:
- All pharmaceutical companies to provide a detailed list of drug costs, from research all the way through to distribution.
This will allow pharmacies and consumers to view information that can give a clearer picture of where price inflation is originating. Is it at the Research phase? Manufacturing? Distribution? The “why” behind a drug costs what it does (price justification) is the backbone of this bill.
As we all know, there are constant debates and fingers being pointed at each other between insurance companies and big Pharma companies on who should bear the brunt of reducing costs for consumers. If passed, this cost transparency will help legislators, consumers, and Independent Pharmacies put pressure on both insurance companies and big Pharma to lower drug costs.
Currently there are similar proprietary systems with similar capabilities such as Pharmabay (www.pharmabayonline.com). Pharmabay’s PAC (Pharmacy Acquisition Cost) pricing is the proprietary national average price for pharmaceutical products at the pharmacy level and is an excellent way for pharmacies to determine if they are paying fair prices through their current suppliers.
“We need to address the root cause of rising drug costs by increasing transparency around the costs of creating, manufacturing, and marketing medications—rather than focusing on the back end when consumers end up footing the bill”. Jared Ishkanian from BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
Connole, P. (2015). States target prescription drugs in ‘cap the copay’ bills; analysts warn of offsets. Health Plan Week, 25 (13), 1. Retrieved from www.aishealth.com.