(Washington, DC, April 25, 2016) The American College of Physicians (ACP) today said that prices for many prescriptions are rising so fast and so high that patients can no longer afford them. In remarks at an event for the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, Robert P. Doherty, Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Public Policy for ACP representing 143,000 internal medicine physicians noted how unsustainable prices are hindering patient care by limiting patient access to life saving medications. He made his comments as part of a panel at the Newseum, where the campaign unveiled its policy platform.
The campaign announced specific proposals to lower prescription drug prices in the U.S., and to recommend reasonable, market-based solutions, anchored on the following three pillars:
- Greater transparency, including releasing details of a drug's unit price, cost of treatment, and projection on federal spending before FDA approval, disclosing true research and development costs, and annually reporting increases in drug prices.
- Increasing competition, including targeting anti-competitive practices such as pay for delay, extending market exclusivity, and practices that can extend patent and market exclusivity protections by seeking approval for a "new" product that is essentially the same as the original product.
- Incorporating assessments of value, including expanding research on the comparative effectiveness of different medications and considering value in coverage and pricing in public programs.
"As internal medicine physicians who specialize in the treatment of adults and adolescents, many with chronic illnesses, ACP members see on a daily basis how the rising cost of prescriptions causes their patients not to keep up with the recommended medication schedule or even forgo filling their prescriptions," Doherty said.
ACP recently released a policy paper Stemming the Escalating Cost of Prescription Drugs, calling for changes that could slow the rising cost of prescription drugs. But while it is essential that the physicians speak out for their patients, it is even more powerful when physicians, nurses, hospitals, employers, and many others come together to find common ground and propose solutions.
The campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing is a non-partisan coalition of organizations informing the debate on drug pricing and finding bipartisan, market-based solutions to improve the affordability of drug prices in the United States. Campaign members represent hospitals, physicians, consumers, health plans, pharmacists, nurses, and employers, representing a diverse set of organizations and individuals. The Campaign advocates for market-based reforms that address the underlying causes of high drug prices in the U.S. through increased transparency, competition, and value.
"We must not allow the issue to be defined as a choice between innovation on one hand and affordable drugs on the other," Doherty said. "As our coalition is proposing today, we can, and must, do both, by continuing to support the pharmaceutical industry's vital role in research and development of new life-saving medications, while introducing market-based policies to ensure that results of such research are not priced so high that patients can't benefit from them."
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 143,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
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