Of course, if you can get the same medication for less, that is better, but what if switching to a newer more expensive drug actually saved money? Recently I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at the Outsourced Pharma conference in Boston that was focused on cost and price pressures in the pharma industry. Based on the nodding heads in the audience, I think it is fair to say that our industry has an image problem. While I cannot and will not try to defend some of the more recent high-profile cases that have garnered media attention, there is certainly a case to be made that not all pricing is gouging patients.
Last week the Chicago Tribune highlighted a Blue Cross Report that squarely blames pharma companies for high drug prices. According to the report, member plans spent 73 percent more on prescription drugs in 2016 than in 2010, attributed to "large year-over-year price increases" for new drugs that are protected from competition by patents. in addition, the report highlighted the increase in consumer spending on drugs noting that consumers have been paying 3 percent more a year, out-of-pocket, for all prescription drugs but 18 percent more a year for patented drugs."