Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved PCSK9 inhibitors, which promise to help millions of Americans with high cholesterol. But these new drugs come with a projected price tag of about $14,600 a year.
The PCSK9 inhibitors are the latest in a series of high-priced prescription drugs reaching the market. Cancer drugs now routinely carry annual price tags upwards of $100,000.
These high costs hurt us all. In 2014, more than a half-million patients had medication costs in excess of $50,000. Recent estimates calculate that 10 “breakthrough” drugs that are currently in the pipeline will alone cost the federal government $50 billion over the next decade.
What’s most surprising is that these prices have no relation to how much patients benefit from taking the drugs or how much better the drugs perform than what is already available on the market. What’s more, the prices we pay often have little relation to how much money the drugs can cost or help save patients and the health system in the long run.
So why are drug companies able to set prices so high?
Earlier this week, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review announced that with funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation they will provide independent analysis of 15 to 20 drugs over the next two years to help transform the way new drugs are evaluated and priced in the United States. ICER hopes these reports will help manufacturers, payers and providers better understand the value these new drugs bring to patients and the health care system, and price them according to their worth.
As ICER President Steven Pearson, MD says, “We need prices that make sense.”
To learn more, check out the following article: