Seeing Clearly: The Cost of a Miracle Cure

Seeing Clearly: The Cost of a Miracle Cure

Preparing to pay for a new era of effective gene therapy

Could you imagine seeing stars in the night sky for the first time or even the site of your own parents’ faces after ten or even twenty years of significant visual impairment? The Food and Drug Advisory Committee heard personal testaments like these from patients explaining their miraculous results as part of two experimental gene therapy trials.

More than 25 years in the making, the FDA approved Luxturna® (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl), the first gene therapy for an inherited disorder involving a progressive form of blindness, typically starting in early childhood. Currently, no pharmaceutical alternative is available for these patients. (more…)

Elephant in the Room: Are Employers Ready to Address Specialty Drug Spending?

Elephant in the Room: Are Employers Ready to Address Specialty Drug Spending?

Specialty drug costs continue to vex most health plan sponsors. This article from NEJM Catalyst brings to light some of the key issues and opportunities for employers. It highlights the Cleveland Clinic’s recent effort to eliminate $8.5 million of annual waste associated with two commonly used cardiovascular drugs. Employers have got to like that result! (more…)

Managing Orphan Drugs in Your Health Plan

Managing Orphan Drugs in Your Health Plan

While the rapid evolution of modern medicine offers innovations in patient care, the resulting advancements are placing a fair amount of stress on our existing service delivery and payment models.

A prime example is orphan drugs — defined by the FDA as drugs and biologics for the safe and effective treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases/disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S., or that affect more than 200,000 persons but are not expected to recover the costs of developing and marketing a treatment drug. (more…)

Mr. President: Please Write a New Prescription for the FDA

Mr. President: Please Write a New Prescription for the FDA

Dear Mr. President:

First of all, congratulations on your stunning victory. You’ve re-written the playbook on how to get elected president. Your campaign strategy and tactics will be studied by scholars and politicians alike for years to come.

What you are now reading is an “open letter.” It’s addressed to you, but also intended to have a wider readership. We know you’re dealing with a number of pressing matters right now, but we want to make sure that you are aware of an important issue impacting the health of our people, and our nation’s finances. (more…)

Clipping the Coupons

Clipping the Coupons

Coupons providing discounts off the purchase price of goods and services have long since found a permanent and important place in shoppers’ purchase planning since Coca Cola offered the first American discount coupons in 1888. From canned vegetables to golf course tee times, the lure to shoppers of using a discount coupon is that they will pay a lower price for the purchase of the named good or service. Many of these are what economists call price elastic, meaning that sales will increase when the purchase price is lowered, and decrease when the price is raised. (more…)