Adherence rates are important. They point to the ability of people to take their medication and improve or maintain their health. As we have seen poor adherence rates are by and large driven by the high cost of prescription drugs. The more drugs cost, the less often or less regularly people are to take them. That’s a major potential health hazard and for the public a potentially large bill, if the person ends up in hospital. Not surprisingly good adherence rates are linked to drug affordability.
Prescription Drugs are priced outrageously in the US. That’s because the US doesn’t impose any limit on them, either through negotiation or regulation. It doesn’t have to be this way. The time has come, and many American consumers would agree, for the present situation to be disrupted in some way. So what can be done to put downward pressure on pharmaceutical prices? Here are some ideas:
- Permit personal importation from tier 1 countries like Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia and others.
- Permit Medicare to use its buying power to negotiate better drug prices.
- State Medicaid programs could band together to set up large medication buying blocks, using their higher populations to get better deals.
- Set maximum price levels (unpopular) for similar brand name drugs. There are drugs in some categories that do the same thing but have different prices, why should these brands charge different prices for no different results?
- Forbid PBMs and Insurers from contractually forbidding pharmacists from telling patients if their drugs can be purchased for less in some way.
- Force greater transparency in agreements between PBMs and Insurers or abolish PBMs altogether.