In people with Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can’t make insulin. Those with the condition require several doses of insulin a day and spent $5,705 per person on it in 2016, an increase of $2,841, or 99%, per person since 2012, according to the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute.
(Podcast interview “This Weekend With Gordon Deal”, 12-14-19)
Costs continue to rise, so much so that almost half of people with diabetes have temporarily skipped taking their insulin, according to a 2018 survey by UpWell Health, a Salt Lake City company that provides home delivery of medications and supplies for chronic conditions.
“Insulin prices doubled in a four-year period,” said Cathy Paessun, the director of the Central Ohio Diabetes Association. “They continue to go up, and the infuriating thing is that there is no change in the process for creating the product.”
From a British Medical Journal (BMJ) online article:
…primary care providers (general practice, paediatrics, and internal medicine) performed the best, giving a considerably lower percentage of antibiotic prescriptions without a documented indication (12%) than other specialists such as gynaecologists and urologists, who commonly prescribed antibiotics (24%), as well as those in all other specialties (29%).
As many as two in five antibiotic prescriptions (43%) provided in outpatient settings in the US could be inappropriate, a study published by The BMJ has found.1
Researchers from Oregon, USA, looked at prescriptions in ambulatory settings such as primary care and found that a quarter (25%) were deemed to be inappropriate, while a further 18% did not have an indication.
Medicare negotiation of prescription-drug prices would bring U.S. government policies in line with those of other high-income countries, and the idea is popular with both the public and policy analysts. But it would represent a sea change for pharmaceutical firms, which will maintain that any threat to their pricing power will slow innovation.
Negotiating prices of 10 too-little drugs and 10 too-late drugs to levels currently paid in the United Kingdom would produce about $26.8 billion in savings in 2019 alone, most of which ($25.9 billion) would come from savings on drugs in the latter category. Over time, the drugs included could change. For instance, in 2020 this category might include Revlimid (lenalidomide), which generated $6.5 billion in 2018 U.S. sales; its price in the United Kingdom is 32% of that in the United States.
Americans all along the political spectrum favor allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices it pays for prescription drugs.1 In September, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) introduced what is now called the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3), and the bill would have Medicare do just that.
Although there are draft pieces of legislation and regulation that take aim at the rising cost of drugs, H.R. 3 is the legislative tip of the spear for price negotiation. If it became law, Medicare would target drugs that claim the largest share of the health care budget and that face limited competition from generics or biosimilars. I propose an alternative set of drugs for price negotiation: those that have too little evidence to support full approval or are too late in their life cycle to justify continued high prices.
Any customer with an active prescription and an Alexa-enabled device will be able to access the medication management skill on the device, a Giant Eagle spokesperson told CNBC. Rachel Jiang, who leads the Amazon Alexa health and wellness team, said the company began developing the skill after noticing that customers were using the devices to create medication reminders.
Beyond a simple reminder, the skill also offers more information about medication regimens and can be used to order refills. When the skill is installed, Alexa, which was confirmed earlier this year to be HIPAA-compliant, will prompt users to set up a profile and passcode, which must be delivered each time Alexa is asked a question about a medication.
Amazon and Pittsburgh-based supermarket and pharmacy chain Giant Eagle have formed a partnership that will allow Amazon Echo devices to offer Giant Eagle pharmacy patients medication reminders, CNBC reports.