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Curbing Unfair Drug Prices: Recommendations for State-Level Initiatives to Rein in Rx Prices

Posted by Becky Martin, NPA Advocacy Director August 8, 2017 at 6:34 PM

The Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP), in collaboration with the National Physicians Alliance and the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, has released a policy paper entitled, “Curbing Unfair Drug Prices: A Primer for States.” This paper is intended to catalyze and further state-level initiatives to rein in prescription drug prices.

The high cost of prescription drugs in the United States is unsustainable. Spending on prescription drugs is increasing at a faster rate than any other component of health care spending, and a growing number of Americans report difficulty affording their medications. High drug prices are forcing some patients to skip doses of critical medicines, and others to choose between their health and necessities like food and rent. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry continues to launch new drugs at exorbitant prices, gratuitously increase prices of many old drugs without justification, and reap soaring profits.

This policy paper is the culmination of collaborative efforts over the past six months to rein in prescription drug prices through state-level initiatives. The paper analyzes promising approaches to lowering costs, identifies strategic considerations, and provides recommendations for legislators, advocates, and constituents based on our advocacy experience, including the successful initiative to pass a groundbreaking fair pricing law in Maryland. It is our hope that this document will pave the way for states to enact legislation protecting patients from harmful pricing practices by pharmaceutical companies.

In particular, we believe that:
●       States should target excessive pricing for both generic and brand-name drugs, both by prohibiting unfair launch prices and by capping annual price increases.
●       States should mandate the public release of as much information as possible about pricing, as well as development, manufacturing, and marketing costs on a drug-by-drug basis.

We expect that each state legislature will tailor these recommendations to the specific political and economic landscape in their state. This is a policy area that is currently primed for another wave of legislative activity, and states will lead the charge.

Link to full press release
Link to full PDF report

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Yale Global Health Justice Partnership
The Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) is a joint initiative between Yale Law School (YLS) and Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) that trains the next generation of scholars and practitioners to tackle the complex interdisciplinary challenges of global health. The GHJP works with international partners at the interface of law and governance, public health, and medicine to theorize, build analytical frameworks, create knowledge, and mobilize research to help drive the social change necessary for improving the health and wellness of people around the world. Learn more at www.yaleghjp.org.

National Physicians Alliance
The National Physicians Alliance (NPA) is an independent, non-profit organization of physicians with shared values of service and integrity in putting patients first. Uniting physicians across medical specialties, the National Physicians Alliance (NPA) creates research and education programs that promote health and foster active engagement of health care providers with their communities to achieve high quality, affordable health care for all. NPA is committed to evidence-based medicine and transparency and does not accept funding from pharmaceutical or medical device companies. NPA offers an organizational base for physicians who share a commitment to professional integrity and health justice. Learn more at www.npalliance.org.

Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut
The mission of Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut is to serve as a catalyst that engages residents and communities in shaping a democratic health system that provides universal access to quality, affordable health care and promotes health in Connecticut.  The Foundation is a non-profit, activist philanthropy that supports research-based policy, advocacy and public education.  Its work is part of a broader movement for social and economic justice and is rooted in the belief that health care is a fundamental right.  Learn more at www.universalhealthct.org.

For more information, please contact:
Ted Lee, Senior Fellow, Global Health Justice Partnership, theodore.lee@ylsclinics.org
Becky Martin, NPA Advocacy Director, becky@npalliance.org, cell (941) 518-7051
Jill Zorn, Senior Policy Officer, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, JZorn@universalhealthct.org, (203) 639-0550 ext. 302

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