November 28, 2023

Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.

New England Journal of Medicine:
Shifting Tides Offer New Hope For Obesity

In the past, few medications were approved to treat obesity, and those that were approved were plagued by weak efficacy and troubling side effects. Some agents, such as phentermine with fenfluramine, sibutramine, and lorcaserin, were actually withdrawn, owing to risks of serious cardiac valvulopathy, stroke, and cancer, respectively. (Clifford J. Rosen, M.D., and Julie R. Ingelfinger, M.D., 6/4)

Also —

Commercial Appeal:
Prescription Drugs: Memphis Residents Need Solution For Rising Prices

MedPAC’s proposal suggest that an adjustment to the cost-sharing could help lower prices. MedPAC also suggest that if part D pays for 80% and Medicare pays for 20% prices, it will lower the cost of prescription drugs. Even if those percentages are high, any percent that lowers the cost will be a help to those in need. Parties should set the blame aside and focus on developing a plan to help citizens with paying for prescription drugs. Policies should cater to the needs of those enrolling in Medicare Part D. Shifting the percentages of payment will help significantly. (D’aja Grandberry, 6/6)
New Jersey Supports Prescription Drug Reform, Will Congress? 

As a retiree on Medicare, I feel like a human pinball, bouncing back and forth from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to find the cheapest drugs I need to keep me alive. It shouldn’t be this way. Imagine needing to take essential medication that dramatically improve your quality of life, only to find out you can no longer afford it. What would you do? (Gretchen Landenburger, 6/7)

The Hill:
Congress Should Shield Patients From Deceptive Policies That Increase Their Medication Costs 

Even before the pandemic upended life as we know it, patients were struggling to afford many of their medications. Now, as Americans feel the direct effects of inflation at the gas pump, grocery store and at home, copay assistance for expensive medications has become even more critical. Despite the challenging economic circumstances facing the average American, health plans and industry middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) increasingly turn their backs on patients by essentially refusing the use of copay assistance. Blocking copay assistance from counting toward a patient’s deductible leaves many of the country’s most vulnerable patients with an impossible choice to either shell out more money for their medicine or forgo treatment altogether.  (6/3)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.


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