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Health, Science and Environment

Potential policy solutions could bring down increased drug costs

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Policy wonks are discussing new ways to address the problem of ever-rising drug prices.  

 

Prescription and specialty drug prices have skyrocketed in the last few years, and affording these medications has become a real issue.

One issue is with multiple sclerosis drugs. MS is more prevalent in the midwest and Michigan than anywhere else in the country, and the costs of MS drugs are climbing at what some say are alarming rates.

The annual cost for MS speciality drugs went from 12-thousand dollars in the mid-90s, to 60-thousand in 2013.

Marianne Udow-Phillips is the director of the center for healthcare research and transformation at the University of Michigan. She said the price increase didn’t stop at 60-thousand.

“It went from 60-thousand dollars in 2013 to 90-thousand dollars in 2016. These are enormously expensive drugs and for some people it has meant that those drugs have not been affordable for them it’s a very serious problem because they can’t afford the drugs.”

Udow-Phillips said policy solutions are being discussed to fix the price issue. Solutions could include more transparency from manufacturers to see how costs are set, or allowing drugs to be imported from other countries like Canada where they’re cheaper.