- Jim Greenwood, president of the industry group Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), praised on Wednesday a recent report from healthcare services company QuintilesIMS for "setting the record straight" when it comes to rising drug prices.
- In the report, QuintilesIMS predicted slower drug spending growth in the next five years compared to 2014 and 2015, both of which had serious upticks. Reasons for that sluggish growth include a larger number of branded products losing their patent exclusivity and greater rebate use among payers.
- While global spending on branded drugs increased 12-15% in the past few years, the report expects it to dip down to about 8-11% through 2021. The net price tag for protected brands, however, should grow at a modest 2-5%, represent "a striking contrast from the pervasive myth peddled by the insurance industry and its allies," Greenwood said.
That difference — between gross and net price increases — and the emphasis placed on it in the report is particularly important, according to Greenwood
"While gross prices often make for splashy headlines, it’s not what drug manufacturers typically are paid and almost never what a patients pays at the pharmacy," he wrote in the Dec. 14 article. "And the fact remains that what an insured patient actually pays for his or her drug is largely determined by a host of other actors in that broader ecosystem, such as PBMs, insurers and employers."
Greenwood's comments are indicative that the feud between drugmakers and insurers over who's to blame for sky-high medicine costs is still going strong. Both BIO and the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) have created websites in the past couple years calling out insurers as a key culprit behind consumers' qualms with drug pricing.
"BIO is committed to ensuring that patients have affordable access to our innovative medicines. But it’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the debate over drug costs and access," Greenwood wrote.
Published on Dec. 6, the QuintilesIMS report forecasted 4-7% compound annual growth rate for worldwide drug spending. Despite those still-rising drug prices, QuintilesIMS explained that customers will likely pay less out-of-pocket as generic competition and more favorable insurance copays.