American Heart Association Principles on the Accessibility and Affordability of Drugs and Biologics: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association
Net US spending on pharmaceuticals reached $309.5 billion in 2015, an 8.5% increase from the year before, and is expected to reach between $370 and $400 billion by 2020. These current and projected levels have raised serious concerns by policy makers, providers, payers, and patient groups that they are unsustainable and threaten the affordability of and accessibility to much-needed therapies for patients. Two trends related to drugs/biologics and generic drugs/biosimilars underlie this overall increase in spending. First, the market entry prices of innovator pharmaceutical products, or brand drugs and biologics, are at levels that some assessments consider unaffordable to the healthcare system. Second, prices for some established generic drugs such as digoxin and captopril have seen sharp and rapid increases. As an evidence-based patient advocacy organization dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans, the American Heart Association has a unique role in advocating for treatments, including medicines that are available, affordable, and accessible to patients. This advisory serves to lay out a set of principles that will guide association engagement in pursuit of this goal.