The Alliance

The Weekly Dose | 03.29.19

March 29, 2019 7:04 pm

This week, Melissa Andel, vice president of health policy at Applied Policy, predicted the discussion around drug prices will continue to dominate the news cycle and the 116th Congress. That’s correct, and so is her argument that the debate so far has been an “oversimplified explanation of drug prices.” As Axios’ Caitlin Owens explained this morning, the current debate also ignores innovation: “There’s a scientific and economic revolution happening in medicine, and the political debate over drug prices isn’t keeping up.”


Regarding the International Pricing Index proposal, Applied Policy’s Andel said: “We’re talking about a wholesale change in the way that physicians who administer these drugs would be doing business. They would lose a major revenue stream, and so far we haven’t really talked about how that would impact them.”


We try to highlight some of those impacts below.


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Patrick O’Connor – Executive Director

Rosemarie Calabro Tully – Communications Director




Will an #IPI #DrugPricing model hurt patient drug access? Will it negatively impact #innovation? Dr. @Michael_Chernew raises these concerns in his recent @AJMC_Journal interview. Read about the potential consequences of tying our prices to other countries: Click here to RT.

According to @SWAtlasHoover of @HooverInst, an #IPI #DrugPricing model "would ultimately lead to the same consequences Europeans endure—reduced access to critical drugs & worse outcomes, including more deaths from disease." Read his full explanation here: Click here to RT.

 Those who invest in #drug #innovation will not recoup all, or even most, of their money. That's OK — there's a price to finding cures — but it's a cost that cannot be brushed over in the #drugpricing debate. Read for added nuance in this discussion: Click here to RT.



Arnold-Funded Group Wrong On IPI Proposal. Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, the advocacy group funded by the Arnold Foundation, has released a new digital ad in support of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ proposal to adopt an International Pricing Index. This proposal would tie Medicare drug prices to drug prices in other countries. Public comments to the Trump administration ran about 1,000 to one against the IPI proposal. Why? Read the full blog post here.


In case you missed them, here are some other recent posts on the APMI blog:

 - A Plea To Protect Innovation

 - ITIF Paper: Price Controls Will Harm Public, Academic R&D

 - Parting Words From A Health Policy Veteran



New Poll: Americans Largely Unaware Of HIV Drug Benefits. While news about prescription drug prices are all over the headlines, it’s clear that we’re not writing enough about what these drugs accomplish. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, even though treatments to prevent and treat HIV have been available for some time, only 42 percent of Americans say they have knowledge of the preventative treatments and “there are still gaps in the understanding of the effectiveness of antiretrovirals (ARVs).”

How Price Controls Affect European Innovation. In Sandip Shah, founder of Market Access Solutions, an organization that develops strategies to improve access to life-changing therapies, argues against price controls in the Waco Tribune. He notes, “Price controls would have the same effect today. They already prevent the creation of eight to 13 new drugs in Europe, Japan and Latin America each year.”

Kentucky To Investigate PBMs. WTVQ in Frankfort reports Kentucky’s attorney general has launched an investigation “into allegations that state pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have overcharged the state health insurance programs for prescription drugs and discriminated against independent pharmacies.” Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune, says PBMs are “killing” independent pharmacies in Illinois.

 More On Postpartum Depression Drug Innovation. Last week, we report the Food and Drug Administration has approve a new drug to treat postpartum depression. This quotation from WVLT in Knoxville, Tenn. shows how important this innovation could be: Dr. Stephanie Cross, an assistant professor in the Department of OBGYN at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, said, “[F]or patients with really severe symptoms, ... it gives us another tool in our tool box to treat these women rapidly and effectively.” She noted, “Depression in general is a huge percentage of the patient population in postpartum patients. It’s anywhere from 10 to 15 percent, and that's out of 4 million deliveries a year in the United States, so it’s a big number.”



Flashback Friday: More than 300 patient groups and medical associations signed a letter last December asked members of Congress to stop the Trump administration’s International Pricing Index proposal because:

“The model would restrict access in the short-term, and reduce incentives for medical advancement in the long-term, ultimately posing serious risks to vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries.”



April 9, 2019: U.S. Senate Finance Committee

Location: 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Topic: Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part III


 - CVS Caremark President Derica Rice

 - OptumRx CEO John Prince

 - Cigna chief clinical officer Steve Miller

 - Prime Therapeutics interim CEO Mike Kolar

 - Humana president of Health Care Services William Fleming

Contact: 202-224-4515