Higher Priced Older Pharmaceuticals: How Should We Respond?

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We and our patients have been aware of the high cost of medications in the United States for decades; however, we are now witnessing a relatively new phenomenon: exponential price increases for some older pharmaceuticals that have been available for years. To assist practitioners in how to respond to the issue of higher priced pharmaceuticals, an interprofessional session was developed and held at CHEST 2016 in Los Angeles. The session proceedings and a few updates are presented here to summarize what pulmonologists; a sarcoidosis expert; a retired executive of a medical society, an executive of a pharmaceutical company and of a pharmacy; and an ethicist advise that we do about the problem. Because the comments presented at the session and in this manuscript represent the opinions of each author, this commentary in essence is a compilation of nine editorials. It does not represent a comprehensive discussion of the field of pricing of drugs. In reflecting upon the answers to the questions posed, and regardless of their sector of health care, all participants stated that they focused on the patient. However, actually providing patient-focused care (ie, the care defined from the patient’s perspective) is another matter. To significantly improve patient satisfaction and health-care outcomes, patient-focused care needs to embody the 3 Cs of (1) communication, (2) continuity of care, and (3) concordance of expectations (ie, finding the common ground). Therefore, we discuss how the 3 Cs apply to responses to higher priced pharmaceuticals.

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