ACC Submits Comments on HHS Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices

On July 16, the ACC submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calling for significant reductions to the costs of brand name and generic drugs, increased accessibility to affordable health care and increased pricing transparency throughout pharmaceutical supply and distribution chains. The comments were submitted in response to HHS's request for information on the agency's Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.

Much of the focus on drug costs has been directed toward novel therapies such as biologics and PCSK9 inhibitors, but the College emphasized that novel therapies are not alone in their exorbitant pricing, drawing attention to dramatic increases in pricing for a number of generic drugs.

The College has long advocated for access to affordable health care for all patients, regardless of insurance coverage, and recognizes the insurmountable hurdle that excessive out-of-pocket expenses for medications, copays and deductibles represent for many patients. The College called for a close examination of the role played by such barriers in the ability of patients to access crucial medications.

To further aid with informed accessibility, the College believes accurate information on drug prices, plan benefits, formulary changes and discounts should be readily available for clinicians and patients for discussions about expected cost-sharing and treatment plans. The College also believes pricing decisions should emphasize value as assessed through analysis of comparative and cost-effectiveness.

The ACC urged HHS to consider administrative burden in conversations surrounding drug pricing. While prior authorization is not factored into the cost of drugs, such processes add to health care costs, hamper patient access to evidence-based, approved therapies, and create significant burdens for providers.

Keywords: ACC Advocacy, Health Expenditures, Drug Costs, Deductibles and Coinsurance, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Drugs, Generic, Cost Sharing, Health Care Costs, Insurance Coverage, United States Dept. of Health and Human Services

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