April 28, 2015 – Congress is likely to do little or nothing to curtail or rollback prescription price increases that are far outpacing inflation.
Bob Kocher and Bryan Roberts, in a commentary for Fortune magazine, made 10 healthcare predictions for the year ahead. They suggest that Obamacare will change less than Republican rhetoric suggests, insurance premiums will spike due to regulatory uncertainty, more retail pharmacies will close than will open, and – alarmingly – that drug prices will continue to rise uncontrolled.
Despite the recent public shaming of drug makers like Valeant and Mylan, the authors predict that, “While Congress may occasionally hold hearings to put pressure on drug makers, it will not be enough to prevent collusion of the entire drug delivery ecosystem to improve their bottom lines at the expense of the commercial employers funding healthcare.”
Not everyone will be a loser in this scenario. The “ecosystem” – as it has been described – is notoriously stacked against self-funded employers to the benefit of pretty much everyone else involved: “when drug prices go up, everyone who touches the drug, including the drug makers, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies, and in some cases, providers, all make more money.”
Patients, for their part, have been “desensitized to super expensive drugs through copay coupons and out of pocket maximums well below the price of their drugs.” And as for congress, the authors are undoubtedly safe in this assumption: “We can’t imagine any new legislation being passed to allow re-importation of drugs from countries with lower prices or to enable Medicare to negotiate prices.”
Read the full article here: