Understanding the drivers of health care spending and how we use all of our health care resources in the United States is an important endeavor. Certainly, understanding how and what we are spending on prescription medicines is a key part of that equation.
When looking more closely at our spending — whether it’s on prescription medicines or other aspects of health care — we need to use the data that addresses the questions we are asking. In response to a recent article published in Health Affairs, National Pharmaceutical Council Chief Science Officer Robert W. Dubois, MD, PhD, explores the potential inaccurate conclusions drawn from the study’s narrow analysis of only drug list price increases, instead of evaluating the medicines’ net prices over time.
It’s more important now than ever for researchers to understand data’s limitations and take care to not extend their analyses and conclusions beyond these limits. By going beyond the available data, we run the risk of misinforming the broader discussions about spending on medicines — and overall health care spending — and impede solutions to address the problem. In this commentary, Dr. Dubois also explores the role of media and the implications of losing the nuances between list and net prices in the larger drug pricing conversation.