A serious side effect of new specialty drugs … higher costs
When I read about recent leaps and bounds in the pharmaceutical industry, there is a level of excitement and hope for those suffering from debilitating and deadly afflictions. However, as articles by Sarah Dobson and Michelle Andrews point out, we need to make sure we understand the side effects. One such side effect is higher costs.
Traditional drugs are made from chemicals, and costs are often mitigated by the introduction of generic substitutes. However, many specialty drugs, biologics for example, are made from living organisms. The cost to manufacture these drugs is much higher, and generic substitution for biologics is not expected to be common. Many of these drugs are designed to target a unique aspect of a disease and often do not replace a former drug regimen. These factors add up to higher costs, such that pharmaceutical spending is expected to increase rapidly in the near future. Employers across North America should understand the implications on the cost of employee health plans and employees’ wallets. Employers need a strategy to monitor how these drugs are being used and to determine if their use is appropriate.
The SOA is sponsoring a webcast entitled “Better, Longer Lives: Future Drugs and Future Costs” to help health professionals understand current developments in specialty and biological drugs, including upcoming drug launches and the impact that these drugs will have on costs. Join experts from the United States and Canada as they describe how the landscapes in both countries are changing and discuss ideas to help manage increasing costs. Be ready.
“Prevention is better than cure.” –Erasmus