DRUGS & DEVICES
Insurers, providers, policymakers, employers and consumer groups spent much of 2016 blasting the pharmaceutical industry’s pricing of prescription drugs.
This biggest pricing controversy centered on the $608 list price of Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ EpiPen, which now costs five times what it sold for when Mylan acquired the brand in 2007—despite few changes to the product. State and federal investigations into the company’s practices forced Mylan to take a number of steps to calm customers, including expanded discounts and plans for a generic version.
The American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals said hospitals have been hit hard by an average 23.4% increase in annual inpatient drug spending between 2013 and 2015.
Rick Pollack, CEO, American Hospital Association
Despite all the criticism, drugmakers won a big favor from Congress at year’s end with passage of legislation they lobbied for heavily, the 21st Century Cures Act. It will significantly alter how the Food and Drug Administration handles approvals for prescription drugs and medical devices, and is expected to make approvals cheaper and faster. Critics worry that it will weaken reviews of product safety and effectiveness, and they complain the legislation does nothing to slow price increases.
In December, President-elect Donald Trump said: “I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.”
“WE UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF INNOVATION, BUT AN UNAFFORDABLE DRUG IS NOT A LIFESAVING DRUG. AND PRICE INCREASES IN DRUGS THAT COME FROM MARKET MANIPULATION ARE JUST WRONG.”