Panelists to discuss issues related to high drug prices

0820-Rising PricesWhether it is for the latest biologic treatment or a generic medication that has been available for a couple of decades, the cost of prescription drugs is on the rise, and dermatologists and their patients are feeling the pain. A Friday afternoon forum will feature panelists with four different perspectives discussing the issue.

“The cost of drugs has skyrocketed, whether it is for branded drugs, which at this point for biologics can cost more than $70,000 a year for a patient, or for generic drugs,” said AAD President Mark Lebwohl, MD. “Insurance companies frequently deny payment for these types of items. We are subject to tricks that wear and tear at us, and they are trying to prevent our prescribing drugs that are safer or more effective for our patients.”

Dr. Lebwohl will lead the panel discussion “Dialogues on Drug Pricing and Transparency” (F010) from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday in Rendezvous Trianon. The panel will have representatives from an insurance group, a patient advocacy group, a pharmacy group, and a manufacturer group.

Among the topics expected to be discussed are the Patient Access to Treatment Act, the 21st Century Cures Act, narrow networks, prior authorizations, the cyclical competitive market for generic drugs, and the cost of specialty drugs. Some of the concerns, he said, are that dermatologists are increasingly placed in an insurance classification where their patients face reduced coverage, insurance companies require preauthorization for prescriptions, or prescriptions are denied.

“The way our health care system is shaping up, we can lie and say everyone is covered, but the quality of that coverage is bad because it does not pay for the medicines patients need,” Dr. Lebwohl said. “We are here to bring the stakeholders together to see how we can solve this.

“I’m hoping to hear a variety of perspectives that will begin the dialogue here, and perhaps incite some thoughtful approaches to what we might do as a specialty for the betterment of patient access to treatments.”

Panelists for the session will be:

  • Matt Eyles, executive vice president, policy and regulatory affairs, America’s Health Insurance Plans
  • Leah McCormack Howard, JD, vice president, government relations and advocacy, the National Psoriasis Foundation
  • Everett Neville, senior vice president, supply chain, Express Scripts
  • Lori Reilly, executive vice president, policy and research, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

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