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Report: New Laws Needed to Control Prices of HIV and Hepatitis Drugs

December 30, 2016


Credit: Ingram Publishing via Thinkstock

This month, the Fair Pricing Coalition (FPC) -- a group that advocates for the fair pricing of HIV and hepatitis drugs -- announced the release of Tackling Drug Costs: A 100-Day Roadmap. The report provides an in-depth analysis of current federal statutes and regulations along with a model that FPC believes could substantially reduce medication costs in the United States.

According to FPC member Sean Dickson, lead author of the report and senior manager of Health Systems Integration for the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), statutes currently in place have failed to prevent skyrocketing drug prices, and lifesaving HIV and hepatitis C drugs and biologics are among those with more egregious pricing. The report, which was distributed to the president-elect's transition team and to congressional leaders, includes step-by-step procedures that can be implemented quickly as bipartisan support grows for measures to control escalating drug costs.

The FPC analysis shows that modernizing statutes and strengthening the system's existing framework can reduce federal drug spending and help eliminate unacceptable price increases for medicines and biologics in the private sector. They say much of the problem stems from this central issue: Although cost control measures are already in place through existing statutes, federal legislation has not kept up with tactics used by pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers to sidestep these regulations.

In the report, the FTC presents the following four pathways, which expand on existing statutes and provide specific legislative actions:

  1. Fix the Formulas: Improve ceiling price formulas to make sure government payers do not incur higher costs than commercial payers for medication.
  2. Enhance Existing Penalties: Remove penalty caps, raise fines for the most egregious price increases and apply penalties for new drugs launched with prices higher than top selling drugs in the same class.
  3. Pool Purchase Power: Increase collaboration efforts between and among federal and state agencies.
  4. Pull Back the Curtain: Boost transparency tools already in place and examine the effects of additional price/payer cost disclosures.

Diane Domina is a senior content producer at Remedy Health Media, LLC. She writes the Daily Dose for HealthCentral and is the editorial director at HealthCommunities. Her goal is to contribute to a valuable, trustworthy and informative experience for people who are searching for health information online.

Copyright © 2016 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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