To kick off the new year, National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) President and CEO John M. O’Brien, PharmD, MPH, writes in Chain Drug Review about the need for a more informed public discussion about the role that prescription drugs play in our health care system and in improving the lives of patients.
NPC will help to foster this evidence-based dialogue through its research examining the true cost of prescription drugs and the value they provide, Dr. O’Brien says. NPC will also “shine a spotlight” on the challenges patients, pharmacists and health care providers face in getting patients the medicines they need.
As any pharmacist knows, the main stress at the pharmacy counter for patients is driven by their insurance: high deductibles, coinsurance, copay accumulators, step therapy and other drug utilization management barriers. These roadblocks are ostensibly designed to save money, but they often stand in the way of getting high-value care for the chronic conditions that drive so much of health spending.
By building better benefits, we can get high-value treatments to patients while also controlling costs, he explains. For instance, IRS rules now allow employers offering high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts to cover certain chronic disease preventive services and medications before patients meet their annual deductible.
In addition, increased transparency in health insurance, drug rebates, and other payment systems is greatly needed so that policymakers can better understand the realities of drug pricing, Dr. O’Brien explains.
NPC will continue to focus on evidence-based approaches to maintain incentives for biopharmaceutical innovation and bring together health care stakeholders to find ways to improve patient access to future innovations, he concludes.