Policy Overview: Require the industry to disclose information
about advertising and marketing spending, and prohibit gifts and
payments to health care practitioners from pharmaceutical and medical
As part of our Shared Multi-State Agenda,
the Progressive States Network is working with legislators, advocates
and leading experts to promote Rx reforms in 2010 that will reduce
health care costs for consumers, businesses, and state and local
governments, and will help ensure access to safe and effective
medications. Through coordinated, strategic support, PSN and our
allies will be working to introduce and advance Rx reforms that will
help address state budget deficits and improve access to quality
medications in as many states possible; providing model legislation,
policy analysis, messaging and more - all of which has been gathered
and will be constantly updated on our Prescription Drug Reform Shared Agenda web page.
As NLARx reports, generic
drugs cost $45 less on average than brand name drugs. Over the next 4 years,
numerous brand name drugs which account for $38 billion worth of sales are
going to lose their patents, meaning generics will flood the market - and
making this a good time to enact policies to promote their use, such as:
Preferred Drug Lists
(PDL): States can reduce drug costs by prioritizing drugs proven to be
safe, highly effective, and typically less expensive inexpensive over more
expensive yet no more effective brand name drugs. As Prescription Policy Choices
at least 40 states have some sort of PDL policy regulating physicians'
prescribing practices. Maine's PDL has
kept Medicaid drug cost increases to below
3% annually. During the same period, the federal government saw increases
of 13%. Texas'
PDL saved the state's Medicaid and SCHIP programs $116 million
Promoting Generics: Massachusetts saved
more than $150 million annually by emphasizing generics over brand name
drugs, and Texas
saved $223 million by making it easier for doctors to prescribe
generics. Medicaid and other public programs should require that,
when available, equally or more effective generics must be prescribed over
more expensive celebrity drugs, except where a treating physician
overrules this requirement.
Prescribing: The Drug
Effectiveness Review Project is a public and private collaboration
that compares and reports on the effectiveness and safety of drugs
designed to treat similar conditions.
This program is used by at least 13
states' preferred drug lists.
$287 billion -- that is how much the U.S. spent
on pharmaceuticals in 2007, representing a significant driver of health
care costs. While spending on hospital and physician care surpass
spending on prescriptions, drugs still account for 14% of all health care expenditures. Combine this with polls that show 70% of Americans believe the drug industry puts profits ahead of people, and it's no wonder that in 2008, at least 540 bills
and resolutions are being considered by states across the country to
reduce prescription drug prices, ensure the quality of medications
covered by public and private health plans, and reduce the undue
influence of pharmaceutical industry marketing - which itself tops out
at $30 billion each year.
Incremental steps to improve the health care system can lay the
foundation for comprehensive reform that provides health care for all.
Comprehensive reforms enacted in Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and San Francisco were, in large part, the result of pragmatic incremental steps those states had already taken. For example, a Families USA report discusses the many reforms Massachusetts put in place over the years that led to its comprehensive 2006 reform. Not every state is as far along in moving comprehensive health care reform, but
each state does have numerous options for increasing access to
coverage, reducing the growth of health care costs, and improving the
quality of care.