Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Does drug detailing affect prescribing patterns?

The obvious answer seems to be ‘yes’.  Why would pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars on drug detailing (i.e., visits by pharmaceutical representatives to physicians to explain drug benefits) and drug samples if they don’t work?   When I say billions, I mean billions: A new study by Datta and Dave (2017), however, finds that drug […]

Read the rest of this entry »

How much money do drug companies get for their drugs?

Let’s say a you fill a 30-day prescription and the list price of the drug is $100.  Let’s say that you pay a $10 copay and your insurer pays $90.  What share of this $100, does the drug company receive. Most people would guess pretty close to $100, but a recent report by Aaron Vandervelde and […]

Read the rest of this entry »

How we should pay for cures, according to economics

I have an article up at the Washington Post‘s In Theory blog titled How we should pay for cures, according to economics. Imagine a major medical breakthrough: a cure for Alzheimer’s. Imagine that cure not only would improve the cognitive abilities of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s but also would give these patients […]

Read the rest of this entry »

How to regulate precision medicines

Currently, pharmaceutical treatments that are used in the U.S. need to gain an approval from the FDA.  The FDA’s approval is contingent on a demonstration of efficacy and safety in a randomized controlled trial (RCT).  However, precision medicine makes the standard FDA approval problematic. As described in Breckenridge et al. (2016), in the precision medicine […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer drug pricing in Europe

How do Euroepan countries reimburse for pharmaceuticals? A paper by Pauwels et al. (2014) provides an nice summary. I review that article today. With the exception of Germany, most countries had a national and/or regional drug budget.  Germany is also unique in that only Germany and the UK allow for free pricing, whereas other countries […]

Read the rest of this entry »

How to prevent another EpiPen controversy

Dana Goldman–my colleague at PHE and a professor at USC–offers three suggestions on how to prevent generic products from increasing their prices drastically as occurred in the EpiPen saga.  In Stat News, he makes three recommendations: First, Congress should mandate that the Federal Trade Commission report on the availability of all such drugs and devices […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Impact of Brexit on Pharma

There is a lot of talk that Brexit will be a disaster.  While I believe that much of this disaster talk is overblown, there are clear business implications.  Pharmafile provides an example of how Brexit would affect a small pharmaceutical company conducting clinical trials in the UK. In the latter case, UK-based pharmaceutical companies with no other […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Incentives for investing in “off label” trials

Aaron Carroll of the Incidental Economist draws on a column from his colleague Austin Frakt in The Upshot to explain why there is not more research into off-label uses of patented or generic drugs.  

Read the rest of this entry »

Will value-based pricing be coming to the U.S.?

The answer may be yes.  One of the big inpediments to value-based pricing of pharmaceuticals was that any discount given to any single organization based on outcomes needed to be reflected in the Medicaid price.  Since outcomes are subject to random noise, there will inevitably be health plans that end up getting a low price due to worse than expected […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Gates: US Drug pricing system is ‘Better Than Most’

There has been a lot of criticism of drug prices in the U.S. One person not included the chorus of critics is Bill Gates. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said: “The current system is better than most other systems one can imagine,” Gates said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “The drug companies are […]

Read the rest of this entry »