November 22, 2016, Vol 316, No. 20, Pages 2059-2162
Pharmaceuticals and Public Health
Rena M. Conti, PhD; Rebekah E. Gee, MD; Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD
JAMA. 2016;316(20):2083-2084. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.15397
This Viewpoint argues for a shift in pharmaceutical pricing from an individual- to a population-based perspective and proposes policy options to incentivize pricing that would make treating populations with disease sustainable.
The national debate over increasing costs and spending for pharmaceuticals has reached a fever pitch. Special concern has focused on new “specialty” drugs, for which per-patient treatment costs often exceed $1000 per month or more than $10 000 for a course of a therapy. The most commonly discussed solutions include approaches to pricing these drugs based on their value to individual patients.1 However, for pharmaceuticals vital to public health, such as immunizations and drugs to treat communicable diseases, policy makers should broaden their perspective to consider the population as a whole.