Moderator of the session on oncology drug pricing, Arjun Gupta, MBBS, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, observed that generics alone may be insufficient to slow the astronomical rise of drug prices.
Arjun Gupta, MBBS
“The general thinking has always been that generics are less expensive than brand medicines,” said Dr. Gupta. “We should try to prescribe generics when we are able to, but obviously not every medication has a generic available.”
“Frankly, these data are very damning, and it’s a shame that we’ve not been able to control this issue for very long,” he continued. “As pricing and policy solutions will probably take a long time, what can clinicians, patients, advocates, and policymakers do to act on these findings?”
Talk to Patients About Medication Costs
According to Aakash Desai, MD, MPH, author of this session on oncology drug pricing, one of the things that clinicians can do better is to have conversations about medication costs with their patients. Although clinicians may be “very excited” to prescribe a newly approved drug, Dr. Desai said, they are often unaware just how much their patients are paying out-of-pocket.
“It’s important for us to try to understand how much our patients are paying out-of-pocket for the treatments we commonly prescribe and to have those conversations in the clinic,” Dr. Desai added.
DISCLOSURE: Dr. Gupta reported no conflicts of interest.
Despite the promise of precision oncology, the cost-effectiveness of targeted treatments remains open to debate. According to Aakash Desai, MD, MPH, there is an urgent need for drug-pricing reform, given the average expenditure of Medicare Part D.
Aakash Desai, MD, MPH
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