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Impact of Cost on Patients' Access to Treatment

Zachary T. Bloomgarden, MD, MACE, discusses how the current US drug-pricing structure affects drug coverage, access to therapy, and choice of regimen.

Zachary T. Bloomgarden, MD, MACE: We have to have rational drug pricing. We have to change, in such a fashion, to have the cost of drugs in America not differ from the cost of drugs in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, or Japan, for that matter. We need to have an effective approach to making drugs available for everyone.
Currently, individuals who have Medicare Part D have a huge burden of paying for drugs once they reach the so-called donut hole, and that certainly needs to change. But, most importantly, we have to stop confusing the cost of the drug, in terms of buying the product, [with] the cost of the drug in terms of its likelihood of ultimately affording benefit to the individual in question.
This is an area in which I fear that we’ve erred tremendously. We allow higher-cost versus lower-cost drugs to be prescribed less frequently, even though the higher-cost drugs may truly be better. So, we have to rethink some of our concepts.
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