The latest report on rising generic drug has been released. Todd Glover, a founding partner of Glass Box Analytics, examined the costs pharmacies could expect to pay for 4,421 drug groups between November 13, 2013 and November 13, 2014.
While the overall increase was only 8.6%, some drug group prices went through the roof.
|# of Groups
Here are three of the many drugs that experienced major price jumps:
- Tetracycline Hydrochloride 250mg Capsule – Up 6,749.9%
- Tobramycin 300mg/5ml Solution for Inhalation – Up 5,768.4%
- Niacin 1000mg Extended-Release Tablet – 5,298.2%
Given this recent drug price rise report, plus the new focus on the ultra-high cost of brand name specialty drugs, it’s easy to see why several new fronts have opened in the fight against high drug prices.
The stories below illustrate, on a larger scale, pressing issues independent pharmacies cope with on a daily basis.
California Bill Would Require Transparency from Drug Manufacturers
California Assembly member David Chiu has introduced a new bill, AB 463, which would require drug makers to reveal their expenses and profits for any drug or course of treatment costing $10,000 or more.
Specifically, drug makers would have to give the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development the following data:
- Clinical trials and other regulatory processes
- Financial assistance offered to patients through various programs
- Marketing and advertising
- Profits attributed to the drug
- Research and development costs paid by the manufacturer or by grants.
Chiu hopes transparency will be a first step leading to greater affordability of specialty drugs. According to the story in CaliforniaHealthOnline.org, The bill faces major opposition in the legislature.
The call for transparency is heard beyond California. Bill Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has stated, “As drug costs continue to rise, the need for transparency is critical. People now have to choose between basic necessities and filling their prescriptions for drugs they need to live healthy lives. At the same time, these companies are making record profits.”
Reports indicate that similar legislation is under discussion in a number of other states, including Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania has called for such a law in the keystone state.
Expert Panel to Weigh Hepatitis C Costs in Guidelines
The high cost of effective Hepatitis C medication has been in the news a lot lately, and with good reason:
- More than 3 million Americans suffer from Hepatitis C (HCV)
- Worldwide, the number of people with HCV is five times the number with AIDS
- New specialty drugs have been effective in curing 94-96% of all HCV patients treated
- The greatest barrier to stopping the worldwide HCV epidemic is the cost of the medicine
As reported by Bloomberg, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases has teamed with the Infectious Diseases Society of America to form a panel of 30 influential doctors and health experts to address the cost-effectiveness of HCV drugs.
The cost of treating every HCV patient in the US at the current cost of medication would run into the billions of dollars. Compared to the general population, HCV patients are more likely to be older and/or incarcerated.
States contain costs by making treatment available to only those patients most in need.
The panel will develop new guidelines which should help government programs and insurers who have struggled with who coverage and prescription issues. A member of the group wrote, “The panel will explicitly consider cost and cost-effectiveness.”
Doctor Starts Grassroots Campaign to Lower Costs of Cancer Medication
Houston physician Dr. Hagop Dantarjian, chairman of the MD Anderson Cancer Center’s leukemia department, has started an online petition on Change.org to lower the costs of cancer drugs. He hopes the petition will garner 1 million signatures.
Addressed to the President, Secretary of HHS, and Members of Congress, the petition calls for six new strategies for lowering the cost of cancer drugs.
The Problem for Independent Pharmacies
The common denominator in these stories is that prices remain prohibitively high as long when there is no transparency and limited competition, everyone (except for the manufacturers and wholesalers) loses.
For the independent pharmacy struggling for access to markets and coping with diminishing reimbursements, price competition is a necessity.
As we verified at the recent PDS Conference, some TRxADE members are enjoying 6-figure savings by comparing prices from up to 20 competing suppliers at one time in the TRxADE marketplace.
TRxADE won’t solve all your problems, but we can help you save a lot of time and money. That’s how we help put the word “independent” back in your pharmacy. See how much you can save today, join or login now.