PhRMA: Health care costs are more of a concern than prescription drugs
Pharmaceutical industry representatives say the conversation about health care costs goes beyond just the cost of prescription drugs.
PhRMA was responding to a study before a North Dakota Legislative Interim Committee and comments from AARP North Dakota on access to the root cause of drug costs.
PhRMA Vice President for Public Affairs Priscilla VanderVeer said various studies have shown prescription drug costs are rising at a slower rate than other health care costs, such as hospitalizations.
“When we talk to patients, the number one thing on their mind is what they have to pay out of pocket for their health care,” VanderVeer said in an interview with Prairie Public. “Whether it’s their medications, their hospital beds or their premiums, their deductibles, their co-payments. Frankly, that’s where a lot of our solutions focus, that’s get to the root of what people have to pay out of pocket.”
VanderVeer said more than 50 cents of every dollar billed for the drugs goes to entities that don’t manufacture the drugs.
“It goes to insurance companies, pharmacy benefit managers, hospitals, government — it goes to all these other people in the supply chain,” VanderVeer said. “Despite this, patients are being asked to either pay the full list price for their medicine or pay their cost share based on the full list price of the medicine.”
VanderVeer said that’s not happening in terms of other medical expenses.
“You hurt your ankle, you get an x-ray, and you get the bill later that says your x-ray is $100,” VanderVeer said. “Then you see an amount, where it says your insurer negotiated that cost up to $50. So your cost share is based on $50, not $100.”
VanderVeer said that doesn’t happen over the counter at the pharmacy.
VanderVeer said PhRMA hopes to work with the Interim Legislative Committee — and AARP — on this issue.