Addressing the challenge of high-priced prescription drugs in the era of precision medicine: A systematic review of drug life cycles, therapeutic drug markets and regulatory frameworks.
ABSTRACT: Recent public outcry has highlighted the rising cost of prescription drugs worldwide, which in several disease areas outpaces other health care expenditures and results in a suboptimal global availability of essential medicines.A systematic review of Pubmed, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian was performed to identify articles related to the pricing of medicines.Changes in drug life cycles have dramatically affected patent medicine markets, which have long been considered a self-evident and self-sustainable source of income for highly profitable drug companies. Market failure in combination with high merger and acquisition activity in the sector have allowed price increases for even off-patent drugs. With market interventions and the introduction of QALY measures in health care, governments have tried to influence drug prices, but often encounter unintended consequences. Patent reform legislation, reference pricing, outcome-based pricing and incentivizing physicians and pharmacists to prescribe low-cost drugs are among the most promising short-term policy options. Due to the lack of systematic research on the effectiveness of policy measures, an increasing number of ad hoc decisions have been made with counterproductive effects on the availability of essential drugs. Future challenges demand new policies, for which recommendations are offered.A fertile ground for high-priced drugs has been created by changes in drug life-cycle dynamics, the unintended effects of patent legislation, government policy measures and orphan drug programs. There is an urgent need for regulatory reform to curtail prices and safeguard equitable access to innovative medicines.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Since 2015, China has been rolling out the pricing reform for drugs and medical services (PRDMS) in the urban public hospitals in order to reduce drug expenditures and to relieve financial burdens of patients. This study aims at evaluating the effectiveness of the reform and investigating its positive impacts and unintended consequences to provide evidence basis for further policy making.<h4>Methods</h4>The Difference-in-difference (DID) approach was employed to analyze the reform impacts on the 31 provincial administrative areas in China based on data abstracted from China Statistics Yearbooks and China Health Statistics Yearbooks from 2012 to 2018.<h4>Results</h4>The reform resulted in a decrease of 7.59% in drug cost per outpatient visit, a decrease of 5.73% in drug cost per inpatient admission, a decrease of 3.63% in total cost per outpatient visit and an increase of 9.10% in surgery cost per inpatient admission in the intervention group. However, no significant change in examination cost was found. The reduction in the medical cost per inpatient admission was not yet demonstrated, nor was that in the total outpatient/ inpatient expenses. The nationwide pricing reform for drugs and medical services in urban public hospitals (PRDMS-U) in China is demonstrated to be effective in cutting down the drug expenditures. However, the revealed unintended consequences indicate that there are still significant challenges for the reform to reach its ultimate goal of curbing the medical expenditures.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We conclude that the pricing reform alone may not be enough to change the profit-driven behavior of medical service providers as the root cause lies in the unchanged incentive scheme for providers in the service delivery. This holds lessons for policy making of other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with similar health systems set up in the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>In 2009, the Chinese government launched a national healthcare reform programme aiming to control healthcare expenditure and increase the quality of care. As part of this programme, a new drug pricing reform was initiated on 1 June 2015. The objective of this study was to describe the changing landscape of drug pricing policy in China and analyse the potential impact of the reform.<h4>Methods</h4>The authors conducted thorough research on the drug pricing reform using three Chinese databases (CNKI, Wanfang, and Weipu), Chinese health authority websites, relevant press releases, and pharmaceutical blogs and discussion forums. This research was complemented with qualitative research based on targeted interviews with key Chinese opinion leaders representing the authorities' and prescribers' perspectives.<h4>Results</h4>With the current reform, the government has attempted to replace its direct control over the prices of reimbursable drugs with indirect, incentive-driven influence. Although the exact implementation of the reform remains unclear at the moment, the changes introduced so far and the pilot project designs indicate that China is considering adaptation of some form of internal and external reference pricing policies, commonly used in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Several challenges related to the potential new mechanism were identified: 1) the risk of hospital underfunding, if hospital funding reform is not prioritised; 2) the risk of promoting the use of cheap, low-quality drugs, if a reliable quality control system is not in place and discrepancy between the available drugs is present; 3) the risk of increasing disparity in access to care between poor and rich regions, in case of country-wide price convergence; and 4) the risk of industry underinvestment, resulting in reduced competition, issues with quality and sustainability of supply, and potentially negative social impact.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Foreign pricing policies cannot be transferred to China without prioritising historical, cultural, and economic contextualisation. Otherwise, the new policy may be counterproductive and affect the whole healthcare chain, as well as the health outcomes of Chinese patients.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>The role of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) in incentivizing innovation is controversial. Critics of CEA argue that its use for pricing purposes disregards the 'value of innovation' reflected in new drug development, whereas supporters of CEA highlight that the value of innovation is already accounted for. Our objective in this article is to outline the limitations of the conventional CEA approach, while proposing an alternative method of evaluation that captures the value of innovation more accurately.<h4>Method</h4>The adoption of a new drug benefits present and future patients (with cost implications) for as long as the drug is part of clinical practice. Incidence patients and off-patent prices are identified as two key missing features preventing the conventional CEA approach from capturing 1) benefit to future patients and 2) future savings from off-patent prices. The proposed CEA approach incorporates these two features to derive the total lifetime value of an innovative drug (i.e., the value of innovation).<h4>Results</h4>The conventional CEA approach tends to underestimate the value of innovative drugs by disregarding the benefit to future patients and savings from off-patent prices. As a result, innovative drugs are underpriced, only allowing manufacturers to capture approximately 15% of the total value of innovation during the patent protection period. In addition to including the incidence population and off-patent price, the alternative approach proposes pricing new drugs by first negotiating the share of value of innovation to be appropriated by the manufacturer (>15%?) and payer (<85%?), in order to then identify the drug price that satisfies this condition.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We argue for a modification to the conventional CEA approach that integrates the total lifetime value of innovative drugs into CEA, by taking into account off-patent pricing and future patients. The proposed approach derives a price that allows manufacturers to capture an agreed share of this value, thereby incentivizing innovation, while supporting health-care systems to pursue dynamic allocative efficiency. However, the long-term sustainability of health-care systems must be assessed before this proposal is adopted by policy makers.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:The health consequences of smoking are serious and have been frequently detailed. A reduction in tobacco-related mortality hinges upon the ability to reduce tobacco usage. There is overwhelming evidence that higher cigarette prices reduce the demand for cigarettes, but little is known about the combined effect of price and non-price policies. This paper seeks to extend the analysis of price elasticities by estimating the combined effect of changes in price and non-price legislations in South Africa. METHODS:Annual time-series data from 1961 to 2016 are used, with a policy index constructed to capture the instances of non-price tobacco legislation. We estimate the combined impact of changes in tobacco control policy on cigarette consumption using a vector error correction model (VECM) and a two-stage least squares (2SLS) model. RESULTS:The estimated long-run own-price elasticities lie between -0.55 and -0.72, while the income elasticities lie between 0.39 and 0.49. The coefficients of the changing tobacco control policies and the changing market structure show that they contribute to a modest reduction in cigarette consumption. The short-run deviations from the steady state are presented using the error correction term (ECT). CONCLUSIONS:Cigarette demand is responsive to cigarette prices and non-pricing policies but failure to control for non-pricing policies overstates the price effect. This suggests that both cigarette prices and non-pricing legislation are effective in reducing cigarette consumption.
Project description:<h4>Importance</h4>Some sole-source, off-patent drugs in the United States have undergone substantial price hikes in recent years. Despite increased attention by lawmakers, there are limited data to guide policy.<h4>Objectives</h4>To describe key attributes of sole-source, off-patent, off-exclusivity drugs; to characterize the prevalence of price increases; and to identify attributes associated with price increases.<h4>Design, setting, and participants</h4>In this cross-sectional study, 300 sole-source, off-patent, off-exclusivity drug products met inclusion criteria and were selected for analysis from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2018. Attributes were identified from multiple sources, and yearly wholesale acquisition cost prices were determined from First Databank.<h4>Main outcomes and measures</h4>The association of drug attributes with the following 2 price change thresholds was measured after adjusting for inflation: 25% or more price increase in a calendar year (wholesale acquisition cost) and 50% or more price increase in a calendar year. The rate of annual price increase over time was also measured.<h4>Results</h4>Of the 300 drug products and 2242 observations analyzed, the overall inflation-adjusted mean increase in drug prices was 8.8% (95% CI, 7.8%-9.8%) per year. Ninety-five drugs (31.7%) increased by 25% or more during any calendar year, and 66 drugs (22.0%) increased by 50% or more during any calendar year. An initial price of less than $2 per unit (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.36; 95% CI, 1.69-3.29), antineoplastic and immunomodulatory class (aOR, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.31-5.65), dermatologic class (aOR, 2.95; 95% CI, 1.80-4.84), oral route (aOR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.45-2.79), and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval before 1990 (aOR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.14-2.03) were attributes of drugs that were more likely to be associated with a 25% or more price increase in a calendar year after adjusting for by initial price. Similarly, an initial price of less than $2 per unit (aOR, 2.68; 95% CI, 1.76-4.09), antineoplastic and immunomodulatory class (aOR, 3.07; 95% CI, 1.54-6.12), oral route of administration (aOR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.11-2.60), and FDA approval before 1990 (aOR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.40-2.94) were attributes of drugs that were more likely to be associated with a 50% or more price increase in a calendar year after adjusting for by initial price. Price increases of 25% or more were most common in 2014, and price increases of 50% or more were most common in 2013.<h4>Conclusions and relevance</h4>Price increases among sole-source, off-patent drugs are common, and policy interest in this practice is warranted. These findings should inform state drug pricing legislation.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To review existing regulations and policies utilised by countries to enable patient access to orphan drugs. METHODS:A review of the literature (1998 to 2014) was performed to identify relevant, peer-reviewed articles. Using content analysis, we synthesised regulations and policies for access to orphan drugs by type and by country. RESULTS:Fifty seven articles and 35 countries were included in this review. Six broad categories of regulation and policy instruments were identified: national orphan drug policies, orphan drug designation, marketing authorization, incentives, marketing exclusivity, and pricing and reimbursement. The availability of orphan drugs depends on individual country's legislation and regulations including national orphan drug policies, orphan drug designation, marketing authorization, marketing exclusivity and incentives such as tax credits to ensure research, development and marketing. The majority of countries (27/35) had in place orphan drug legislation. Access to orphan drugs depends on individual country's pricing and reimbursement policies, which varied widely between countries. High prices and insufficient evidence often limit orphan drugs from meeting the traditional health technology assessment criteria, especially cost-effectiveness, which may influence access. CONCLUSIONS:Overall many countries have implemented a combination of legislations, regulations and policies for orphan drugs in the last two decades. While these may enable the availability and access to orphan drugs, there are critical differences between countries in terms of range and types of legislations, regulations and policies implemented. Importantly, China and India, two of the largest countries by population size, both lack national legislation for orphan medicines and rare diseases, which could have substantial negative impacts on their patient populations with rare diseases.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>In this systematic review on drug price comparison studies, we report on recent determinants of drug prices in a national and international context to facilitate regulation of drug prices by purchasers and policymakers worldwide. Determinants of drug prices were divided into non-modifiable and modifiable and were categorised as pertaining to a country's income level, pharmaceutical market system and its policies and government.<h4>Primary outcome</h4>Determinants of drug prices or price variance.<h4>Design</h4>We systematically searched PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane Library for peer-reviewed articles published between 2004 and 22 July 2020 that reported an association of the primary outcome with one or more determinants. We performed a best-evidence synthesis of these associations for determinants covered in at least three studies.<h4>Results</h4>31 publications were included. Only one publication described net drug prices and 30 described retail drug prices. Five modifiable determinants were associated with lower retail prices: generic market portion, discounts, tendering policies, central (governmental) purchasing and pricing regulation schemes. The originators market portion and a system in which mark-ups are common were associated with higher retail prices. Retail prices were highest in the USA, even compared with other high-income countries. A positive association between national income level and drug retail prices could not be established among middle-income and high-income countries. Retail prices were highest in low-income countries when adjusted for purchasing power parity.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Literature on determinants of net drug prices is extremely sparse. Various healthcare system interventions, market-specific and governmental regulations are consistently associated with lower retail prices. Some interventions are easily implementable in developing or middle-income countries, such as tendering, central purchasing and fixed pricing regulation schemes. Net drug price comparison studies are needed to overcome the lack of price transparency and to quantify the effectiveness of policy measures on net drug prices.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Biological drugs are generally expensive and produce a continuously growing share of drug costs. Yet they are essential in the treatment of many chronic diseases. Biosimilars, clinically equivalent to biological originator products, are expected to restrain drug costs in the biological market.<h4>Objective</h4>This study aimed to examine the impact of the biosimilar market entry on the prices of the reference products in outpatient care in Finland, investigate the impact of biosimilar market entries on price competition among biological medicinal products, and examine how the prices and market shares of outpatient biosimilars have developed in Finland during 2009-2020.<h4>Methods</h4>This retrospective register study applied data from IQVIA covering national community pharmacy wholesale data between 1 January, 2009, and 31 August, 2020, for somatropin, epoetin, filgrastim, follitropin, insulin glargine, insulin lispro, etanercept, pegfilgrastim, adalimumab, teriparatide, and enoxaparin biosimilars and their reference products, in addition to two relevant insulin products. We determined the monthly wholesale amounts in defined daily doses and wholesale weighted average prices (excluding value-added tax) per defined daily dose for each product. We analyzed the evolution of the price and market shares. We performed a linear segmented regression analysis to examine the impact of the market entry of biosimilars on the prices of reference products.<h4>Results</h4>The prices of the reference products mainly decreased after the biosimilar entered the market. If the reference product price was not reduced, it was no longer reimbursable after evaluation under the Health Insurance Act, leading to marginal market shares. The changes in the prices of biosimilars were not as remarkable as the changes in the prices of reference products after the biosimilar market entry. For most active substances, biosimilar prices were stable or decreased. The utilization of biosimilars varied widely between different active substances at the end of the observation period.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Changes in pricing policy and the public reimbursement scheme related to the market entry of biosimilars were the main reasons for the decrease in the prices of reference products. Therefore, biosimilars did not generate genuine price competition between biological products. In many of the drug groups examined, the market shares of biosimilars have growth potential in the future.
Project description:Pharmaceutical sales exceed $850 billion a year, of which 84% are accounted for by brand drugs. Drug prices are the focus of an ongoing heated debate. While some argue that pharmaceutical companies exploit monopolistic power granted by patent protection to set prices that are "too high", others claim that these prices are necessary to motivate the high R&D investments required in the pharmaceutical industry. This paper employs a recently documented utility function of health and wealth to derive the theoretically optimal pricing of monopolistic breakthrough drugs. This model provides a framework for a quantitative discussion of drug price regulation. We show that mild price regulation can substantially increase consumer surplus and the number of patients who purchase the drug, while having only a marginal effect on the revenues of the pharmaceutical company.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>There are major differences in cancer drug prices around the world. However, the patterns of affordability of these drugs are poorly understood. The objective of this study was to compare patterns of affordability of cancer drugs in Australia, China, India, Israel, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.<h4>Results</h4>Cancer drug prices are highest in the United States. Cancer drugs are the least affordable in India by a large margin. Despite lower prices than in the USA, cancer drugs are less affordable in middle-income countries than in high-income countries.<h4>Materials and methods</h4>We obtained the prices of a basket of cancer drugs in all 7 countries, and converted the prices to US$ using both foreign exchange rates and purchasing power parity. We assessed international differences in wealth by collecting values for gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in addition to average salaries. We compared patterns of affordability of cancer drugs by dividing the drug prices by the markers of wealth.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Cancer drugs are less affordable in middle-income countries than in high-income countries. Differential pricing may be an acceptable policy to ensure global affordability and access to highly active anti-cancer therapies.