What We're Reading: The New Way to Price Drugs

What we're reading, August 9, 2016: tying drug costs to outcomes is the future of drug pricing; Walgreens expands drug take-back kiosk program; patients with atrial fibrillation need to consult a second doctor before receiving a new medical device.

An article from Reuters Health highlights pricing drugs based on clinical outcomes rather than the number of pills or vials sold as the future of drug pricing. The challenge is that such a pricing model would require improvements in data collection and agreement on the right outcomes to measure. Experiments with new pricing plans have been taking place around the world as governments in European countries, China and Japan, and the United States look to cap runaway costs.

In Illinois, 45 Walgreens drugstores will introduce metal kiosk for people to safely dispose of unwanted medications. According to the Chicago Tribune, the kiosks are meant to provide people with a way of getting rid of prescription or over-the-counter medications without them ending up in the wrong hands. Walgreens already has kiosks installed in 300 stores in 24 states and it plans to make them available in 500 stores around the country.

Before patients with atrial fibrillation can get a recently approved medical device, Medicare is requiring that they consult a second doctor. The purpose of the new rule is to ensure patients’ opinions and values are taken into account before reaching a treatment decision, reported The Wall Street Journal. The new device, Watchman, enables stroke prevention without the use of blood thinners—the standard treatment to prevent clots for people with atrial fibrillation.