Dr Kavital Patel Examines Accounting for Drug Costs in Total Cost of Care

Kavita Patel, MD, fellow in economic studies and managing director at Brookings Institution, discussed how the cost of drugs should be accounted for in the total cost of care, and the importance of considering patient needs when offering drugs.

Kavita Patel, MD, fellow in economic studies and managing director at Brookings Institution, discussed how the cost of drugs should be accounted for in the total cost of care, and the importance of considering patient needs when offering drugs.

Transcript (slightly modified)

How can we bring accountable care to oncology with the cost of drugs as high as they currently are?

So the cost of drugs is pretty important, but they should not necessarily dominate the entire framework of “accountable care.” I think that the way to think about the cost of drugs is to actually incorporate them into the total cost of care, which has been an issue largely because drugs, or the delivery of drugs through pharmaceutical benefit management services, have sometimes been carved out when we talk about cost.

We talk a lot about hospitals or physician fees. In oncology, though, because we deliver drugs at the bedside or when the physician sees a patient, it can be a very different issue. So I think the more important piece is not excluding the drugs from the cost of care, but then also looking at how much the drug costs.

And it’s not just about how much the drug costs, it’s also how much is that drug in relationship to what we think the patient really values. If this is a drug that can help the patient accomplish their goals, personally, of living another year because they have certain milestones they want to achieve, then that should be taken into consideration as well.