Drug Pricing Transparency

What’s new?

  • The 116th Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation to address various factors impacting the price of prescription drugs including:
    • H.R. 965, the “Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act”
    • H.R. 1499, the “Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act” introduced by Illinois’ Congressman Bobby Rush (D-1)
    • H.R. 938, the “Bringing Low-cost Options and Competition while Keeping Incentives for New Generics (Blocking) Act”
    • The Chair and Vice Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee have circulated a discussion draft  entitled “Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019” to address these same concerns in addition to surprise billing.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar published the first final rule to the American Patients First blueprint to bring down prescription drug pricing.
  • Under this rule, drug companies will be required to disclose the list price for prescription drugs in TV ads. The rule will go into effect 60 days after it was published in the Federal Register, which will be May 20, 2019.
  • The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance has held several hearings on drug pricing in 2019 on various topics including –
  • The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce has held several hearings on drug pricing including –

What’s the issue?

  • Consumers, as well as providers and hospitals, have faced drug shortages and dramatic price hikes in recent years.
  • Prescription drug expenditures are nearly 20% of health care costs today.
  • Competition has been declining over the past several years because of mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical space.
  • Focus has shifted toward higher-profit, specialty and orphan drugs.
  • The pharmaceutical markets have been volatile with increased FDA inspections, a reduction in fast-tracked FDA applications as well as lawsuits involving predatory pricing and generic price fixing.

Why does it matter?

  • Nearly 30% of Americans don’t take their prescribed medications because of high drug prices.
  • Nearly six in ten Americans take a prescription drug; among senior citizens that number is nine of 10, and half of them take more than four.
  • Four of the top 10 prescription drugs in the U.S. have increased price by more than 100% since 2011.
  • The 10 most commonly advertised drugs have list prices ranging from $488 to $16,938 per month or usual course of therapy.
  • 94% of patients with incomes under $25,000 a year stated that they did not fill or pick up a prescription due to the expense involved.
  • Lack of medication adherence costs the U.S. health system as much as $528 billion when considering possible negative health outcomes and even death that can result.

What is the AMITA Health perspective?

  • AMITA Health believes in prevention. Quality and safety are a hallmark of our work and we know that patients who cannot adequately access and manage their illness with prescription drugs have bad outcomes.  We support transparency in drug pricing and other reforms that can help lower the cost of prescription drugs increasing access for those who need it the most.
  • Every individual deserves access to life-saving medication. Price gouging disproportionately impacts low-income communities and those who suffer from chronic conditions.  We believe that every individual deserves access to life-saving medication.  Prescription drugs play a vital role in the care we provide, and help maintain the health of those we serve.  They should be made as accessible and affordable as possible.
  • AMITA Health believes in fundamental market fairness. Pharmaceutical companies have gamed the drug patent and generic drug supply system to protect their profit margin at the expense of consumers, especially the poor and vulnerable.  Ending “pay for delay” agreements that have kept lower-priced generics from entering the market, will help lower overall drug spending.

External Resources

Information from third-party organizations that can be resources for you to continue to learn about the issues at hand.

CHA Drug Pricing Support Letter

Catholic Healthcare Association position on drug pricing (May 2019)

View Resource

2018 America’s Patient First Plan

President Donald Trump's America's Patient First Plan

View Resource

Featured News

Featured news includes articles and tweets from multiple viewpoints and is designed to keep you abreast of the current debate around issues that are important to AMITA Health. This information should not be construed as our point of view.

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