Dr Clifford Goodman Discusses Evidence-Based Drug Pricing as an Alternative to Legislative Controls




Constraining the cost of prescription drugs is a politically popular idea, but the same objective might be accomplished through evidence-based decision support for setting appropriate drug prices, according to Clifford Goodman, PhD, moderator at the ACO Coalition spring live meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, and senior vice president and director at the Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research at the Lewin Group.

Transcript (slightly modified)
Drug pricing remains one issue with bipartisan agreement, but in the increasingly political environment, can we expect the 2 parties to agree on legislation to address drug costs?
We all like to think that drug prices can and should be lower, and that does include our politicians. From a political standpoint, it’s usually pretty good politics to say, “drug prices are too high for my constituents.” Who’s against that? So, it makes for good political fodder.
 
On the other hand, you might consider what could be accomplished in affecting drug pricing, and our same political people also have as their constituents, the industry, which is very important in many regions of our country. Industry and other stakeholders in the system that do benefit from the higher drug prices and will be resistant to that. You will hear arguments about how lowering drug prices might affect innovation and ultimately access to new therapies, and that there may be some downside to that.
 
Overall, what’s going to help yet again is this: if drug pricing discussion now and controversy can go back to the point of saying, well, what might be an appropriate price here? Is it merited by the data, the evidence that we have on effectiveness, on safety, and other aspects of patient outcomes. To the extent that that’s merited, and to the extent that we can have some sort of explicit understanding of the tradeoffs of health benefits from these and their relative cost, that will inform the discussion.
 
I think that those sorts of evidence-based analyses and considerations may even be more important than trying to impose any strict downward cost-cutting pressure or setting of drug prices beyond the kinds of constraints that we already have, for example in the Medicaid programs and so forth.
 
I don’t see very strong-armed drug legislation coming down the pike anytime soon, but I do see an expansion of the decision support in drug negotiations and management on a day-to-day basis of our pharmaceuticals, biologics, and so forth in clinical care situations.
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