Prescription drug costs are not only high but also rising, creating a severe barrier to recovery for patients across the country.
When life-saving medications are not available to patients, the entire healthcare industry takes a hit. Not only are patients deprived of their ability to heal or recover from illness and injury, but also physicians are deprived of adequate healing, and the system falls short in resources, data, and patient communication.
How can we improve the high cost of drugs?
One way to start driving down the cost of prescription drugs is through federal policy reform. By demanding change at the national level, facilities and patients can receive the benefits at the individual level and the healthcare system can advance holistically.
Federal action for change
In hopes of initiating change at a federal level that can guarantee patient access to necessary medication, state and policymakers are pushing for multifaceted and consumer-focused reform.
Of course, change is not simple, and getting change into action is not a quick process. But through collaborative efforts and sincere understanding of the benefits of affordable prescription drugs, the healthcare industry can lower drug costs and provided necessary medical care to more patients.
How can drug policy change to ensure access to medication?
Policy can improve the affordability of prescription drugs by:
- Lowering the cost of drugs to payers and patients
- Increasing the transparency of prescription prices
- Improving pharmacy benefit manager protections
- Increasing price gouge protection
Policy change at multiple levels
Small policies can add up to make the most significant difference in drug price and the healthcare industry.
Currently, Congress and regulators are fighting for reform in the following areas:
- Incentive for innovation
- Patient access
- Price competition
- Access to and availability of information by patients, providers, and payers (individually)
As policies break through barriers in any of the areas listed above, causes for increased prices are reduced and overcome, slowly leading to the affordability of prescription of drugs.
High prescription drug prices affect everyone
The increasing prices of prescription drugs are not new, but it has spiked in recent history. Between 2008 and 2016, prices for brand-name drugs doubled. As prices rise and stay high, patients, payers, manufacturers, and providers are all significantly impacted, often creating a halt in the healthcare system, and preventing a patient from getting the necessary medication and care.
The high cost of drugs makes necessary and life-saving medication inaccessible to many patients across the country. A less-known detriment of high drug costs is in its preventative effect on continued innovation around prescription drugs.
If fewer patients can experience the benefits of medical drugs, there is a lull in profit, patient feedback and motivation to create something better. The halt of these two components severely impacts and drives the necessary resources to encourage leaders to keep innovating, and finding ways to make medication more precise and useful to patients in need.
Hopeful for reform
The high cost of prescription drugs and its consequent barrier to health care for patients is undeniable, but there is room for policy reform.
The best way to contribute to change is to get involved! As a medical provider, encourage patient education and consistently look for opportunities to support relevant legislative bills. Together, all parties involved in the making, distributing, pricing, recommending, and taking of prescription drugs can make a change, and ensure the necessary medication is affordable and available to all.