Insurers, manufacturers consider compromise in drug-price debate

Drug makers and insurance companies may finally be leaning toward some form of mutual understanding and compromise about rising prescription prices, according to STAT News.

High drug costs have become a much-debated issue recently, especially given that specialty drug prices may rise 23 percent in 2016. Recently, payers and providers have tried to push drug and device manufacturers toward value-based deals that link drug prices to results. Yet some prominent pharma CEOs have said outcome-based deals are tough to implement because medical record systems can't accurately measure whether and how much the use of a prescription drug is able to reduce hospitalizations or emergency department visits.

Each side has brought its own agenda to the table when trying to work through this issue, the article says. Health insurers are looking to work with drug makers, but also want assurance that they will take less of a blow than they did with the passing of Affordable Care Act. Drug manufacturers want an accurate long-term value placed on their products, saying that their medicines need to be seen as the key to preventing people from getting sicker.

In an interview with STAT, Marilyn Tavenner, CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, said the public relations battle with the drug manufacturer lobbying group over who deserves the blame for drug prices needs to stop, adding that the increased political pressure has forced both sides to look for chances to talk constructively.

Unfortunately, some are not optimistic when it comes to this potential deal. "Unless there are creative new ideas that cross the two industries, I don't think we're going to see a solution," said Dan Mendelson, a former Clinton administration health official who now heads consulting firm Avalere Health, according to STAT News. "I would believe that something real will happen when the [pharmaceutical] and insurance industries come together and agree on a set of solutions."

To learn more:
- read the article