The US is one of the leaders in the manufacture and distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. What’s more, the government has health policies to make medicines more affordable and accessible to consumers of modest means. For these reasons, Americans should have better access to healthcare.
That’s not what the trends say, unfortunately. Many Americans still suffer illnesses longer as costly prescription drugs keep them from getting the necessary treatment.
The problem with costly prescription drugs
Researchers from the IMS Health Holdings revealed that the spending of prescription medicines rose by 13% or $374B in 2014. The high costs of prescription drugs also take a toll on employers. A survey by Buck consultants revealed that around 71% of US employers spent 16% or more of their total health care budget on pharmacy benefits.
As a result, Americans buy affordable alternatives in online pharmacies in other countries, with or without prescription. This puts them at greater risk of complications from incorrect treatment. Alarmed by the trends, public and private sectors work together to reduce costs of prescription drugs and improve people’s access to healthcare.
Addressing the problem
Effective pharmacy benefits management helps employers lower medical costs and improve the coverage of their employees. Pharmacy benefits managers of companies should be more accurate in auditing expenses and active in sourcing providers of affordable prescription drugs. They also highlight the importance of working with consultancy firms that have a better understanding of the pharmacy benefits industry.
Researchers note that the drug benefit and the pharmacy network should improve in different aspects, including formulary management, rebate for branded drugs and proliferation of generic drugs. Members may also conduct step therapies, increase cost sharing and implement mandatory participation of members in specialty drug programs appropriate.
The government is also taking steps to address the healthcare system problem. They are currently implementing and improving healthcare reforms like Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which aims to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance.
Costly medicines are one of the reasons people can’t have access to medical care. However, it’s the people’s right to get quality healthcare, regardless of whether they are taxpayers or not. That’s why it falls on them to help make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible.