Dallas, TX (PRWEB) May 22, 2014
Many states have enacted drug regulations that force health plans to allow unqualified drug providers to administer specialty drug therapies, according to a new report from Devon Herrick, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).
“Nearly half of states have regulations that restrict the ability of drug plans to partner with exclusive pharmacy networks, putting patients’ health and wallets at risk,” says Herrick.
Americans spend about $300 billion on prescription drug therapies annually. Although specialty drugs constitute only about 1 percent of prescriptions, they are responsible for one-fourth of prescription drug spending. Advanced drug therapies, or specialty drugs, are high-tech, costly drugs that often require special handling, and stocking them requires a full set of protocols and documentation. The costs of these drugs can be enormous. An annual drug cost of $15,000-$100,000 is not unusual. Generally, these drugs treat life-threatening diseases, and they typically require monitoring.
Specialty drugs often have more exacting distribution and safety measures than traditional drugs. As a result, specialty pharmacies differ from traditional pharmacies in key ways.
“Most pharmacies are not equipped to dispense these innovative therapies,” says Herrick. “That’s not just my opinion, but also the opinion of a majority of physicians surveyed.” The restrictions proposed by state and federal lawmakers would have detrimental effects on the safety, security, and prices of specialty drugs.
The use of specialty drugs is increasing rapidly. “By the end of the decade, perhaps half of drug spending will be on these costly drugs,” predicts Herrick. As demand for these products increases, drug plans should be given the freedom to ensure that their products are distributed by qualified providers.
“Patients benefit when their health plan has the flexibility to demand quality in the care provided, and services are negotiated in an environment free from government interference,” says Herrick. “Policymakers should authorize a process of competitive bidding among drug plan stakeholders in an atmosphere free of perverse regulations.”
Full text: Specialty Drugs and Pharmacies: http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/st355
The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. We bring together the best and brightest minds to tackle the country's most difficult public policy problems — in health care, taxes, retirement, education, energy and the environment. Visit our website today for more information.