May 8, 2017 – Drug Prices


Anchor lead: Drug price increases outstrip inflation, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Chances are good that when you look at where your own healthcare spending dollars go, medications are number one or two. Redonda Miller, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, says a look at the data is sobering.

Miller: Prices of 90% of our brand name prescription medications have doubled over the last several years. In the US we spend $348 billion dollars a year, and just to put it in a little bit of perspective our new specialty drugs, drugs that we use to treat cancer some of those are running on average $53,000 per course of treatment. That is more than the median income of a household in the United States.   :29

Cancer drug prices in particular are daunting, with 90% of the most recent FDA approved treatments costing over $100,000 a year. Miller says while the pharmaceutical industry needs to make a profit, much more transparency in drug pricing is needed, noting that many families report having to decide between medications and food. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.