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Dr Yousuf Zafar Explains Interventions to Combat Rising Drug Prices

When considering how to rectify the rising prices of drugs, there are a number of interventions at multiple levels that can work to decrease costs to patients and the price of the drug, explained Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS, associate professor in the Division of Medical Oncology at Duke Cancer Institute.


When considering how to rectify the rising prices of drugs, there are a number of interventions at multiple levels that can work to decrease costs to patients and the price of the drug, explained Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS, associate professor in the Division of Medical Oncology at Duke Cancer Institute.

Transcript (slightly modified)

If drug pricing models are not rational, what can be done to rectify this?

When we're talking about how to rectify the rising prices of drugs, particulary around oncology, I think there are interventions we can look at at multiple levels, but for the most part those interventions work to decrease costs to patients and not necessarily change the actual price of the drug.

One way we could change the price of the drug is by intervening at the level of government and allowing the government to negotiate prices with manufacturers, something that has been disallowed by the Medicare Modernization Act. Second, payers can be involved as well. And we can look at innovative coverage models, like value-based insurance design and possibly even performance-based insurance design, where reimbursement doesn't happen unless the drug performs the way it was promised to.

Importantly, at the leve of the provider and the patient, there are many interventions thatwe can work on today that reduce costs to patients. That involves engaging patients around the cost of care and having providers actually broach that topic of discussion, knowing we've got resources around us like financial counselors and social workers and pharmacists, who can help patients find the resources they need to pay for the care that we as oncologists think is best for them.

 
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