Our Thoughts on HHS’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices: It’s Time for a New Legal and Policy Landscape

Murray-Ross
Murray-Ross
By Murray Ross, PhD, Vice President and Institute for Health Policy Director

In May 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requested feedback on its Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.

At Kaiser Permanente (KP) we welcomed the opportunity to provide our thoughts on this key health policy question impacting people across the country.

Our integrated care delivery model gives us a unique and important perspective on many of the issues identified by the Blueprint. In our experience, pharmaceutical companies continue to raise prices to unaffordable levels, forcing patients and families to choose between paying their rent or mortgage, or paying for their medication. We believe it is time for a new legal and policy landscape for drug pricing that rewards innovation and discoveries, but also provides medicines at prices patients and the health care system can afford. As the health care system is increasingly being held accountable for results, pharmaceutical companies need to play by new rules, explain their prices, and help to bend the health care cost curve in the right direction.

At the Institute for Health Policy (IHP) we have sought opportunities to both share KP’s unique insight on drug pricing with other health policy professionals and to inform public dialogue around this issue. For example, in April 2018 we convened thought leaders from a variety of sectors to participate in a Forum on Addressing High Drug Pricing, which allowed us to not only raise awareness, but to begin developing concrete and pragmatic policy solutions.

Today I would like to continue this conversation by sharing Kaiser Permanente’s full 20-page response to HHS’s request. In this report we highlight the changes needed to move towards a new legal and policy landscape around a variety of topics, including the following:

  • Patents and Exclusivity;
  • Risk, Evaluation, and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) Abuses
  • Generic and Biosimilar Competition;
  • Payment & Financing Models for Pharmaceuticals;
  • List Pricing and Transparency;
  • Direct-to-consumer Advertising and Rebates

Going forward, we will continue to share information about many of these topics through our blog. I look forward to engaging with you as we continue this important discussion.