CSRxP Releases Program of "Market-Based" Ideas to Rein in Drug Prices

Policy solutions were grouped around the themes of transparency, competition, and value. Healthcare heavyweights like Kaiser Permanente, AARP, and the American Hospital Association have signed on to the cause.

Transparency, competition, and value–these are the components of a “market-based” program unveiled in Washington, DC, today by the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, a multistakeholder project of the National Coalition on Health Care.

CSRxP brought together some of healthcare’s heavyweights to embrace a series of steps it said would put downward pressure on specialty drug prices and ease burdens on employers, consumers, and the federal budget.

Release of the policy platform coincided with a panel discussion that featured leaders from Kaiser Permanente, the American Hospital Association, the American College of Physicians, and AARP. Others who signed on to the effort included Prime Therapeutics and Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer.

The campaign cites data from CVS Caremark that found this class grew by 15.6% in 2013, compared with traditional medications that grew by only 0.8%. The trigger point for CSRxP was the arrival of Sovaldi, the hepatitis C therapy that hit the market at $1000 a day, or $84,000 for a course of therapy.

After forming, CSRxP did polling in the early presidential states that echoed findings in the Kaiser Health Tracking poll: consumer frustration with drug prices is the one healthcare issue that unites Americans regardless of party affiliation, and most people blame the drug companies, not insurers.

More recently, the campaign has sought to shape the policy agenda by bringing together key voices needed to craft a solution to rising drug prices. In a statement, the campaign said it seek to collect more information “about the true cost of treatment, how the price of medication is set, and how much it actually costs to bring new drugs to market.”

“The strength of CSRxP is the diversity of its members, who have come together to advance solutions that address rising prescription drug prices,” said John Rother, president and CEO of the NCHC and executive director of the campaign.

With this in mind, CSRxP laid out a platform that included:

Transparency: Ideas here included releasing details about drug unit prices, costs of treatment, and projections on the effect on the federal budget before a drug receives FDA approval. The campaign also seeks to annual report increases in a drug’s list price and disclose what it calls “true R&D costs for drugs.”

Competition: The group called for spending FDA approval of generics, creating incentives for more market entrants, especially in areas where there is no competition; strengthening post-market clinical trials, and targeting exclusivity protections to only the most innovative products. CSRxP seeks to promote biosimilars and curb what it calls “misuse of REMS,” or the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies process, which it said is being manipulated to keep generics off the market.

Value: The group called for increased public funding for research into what constitutes value, including efforts like the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. CSRxP said drug makers should be required to provide cost and outcomes data on new vs existing drugs. And the campaign called for expanding value-based pricing in Medicaid and Medicare.