CLEVELAND — Facing annual spikes in pharmaceutical costs, major hospitals nationwide are curtailing use of expensive drugs and rejecting new additions to their formularies, sometimes triggering tense debates with clinicians who want to offer cutting-edge medications to their patients.
The conflict, involving a wide array of drugs, is bound to become more intense amid the specter of a GOP-led health care overhaul that could further undermine hospital finances. Already, hospitals are cutting down on use of certain pain medications and carefully scrutinizing requests to add expensive new drugs to treat conditions ranging from epilepsy to cancer.
And if 14 million Americans lose insurance coverage next year, as a nonpartisan congressional panel estimates, then the pressure to penny-pinch will only increase, especially if there is no immediate action on legislation to address drug prices.
We have a policy pricing disconnect between patented high priced marginal efficacy drugs and underpriced generic injectables no longer manufactured in the USA, in shortage and with rapidly escalating prices. Time for President Trump, negotiator in chief, to bring big PHARMA to the table along with GPOs that are anti-kickback antitrust immune and tell them that the party is over. Either manufacture generics in USA in abundant supply so that pricing power for innovation is preserved or face governmental negotiation of prices for innovative drugs.
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