The December issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, includes a policy statement from the American Thoracic Society on managing the high cost of prescription medications for patients with chronic respiratory diseases.
The American Thoracic Society convened a multidisciplinary committee comprising experts in health policy, pharmacoeconomics, behavioral sciences, and clinical care, along with individuals providing industry and patient perspectives. The report and its recommendations were developed over a year of in-person, telephonic, and electronic deliberation.
The article is co-authored by two University of Arizona faculty, Dr. Joe Gerald, associate professor and director of public health policy & management at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Dr. Lynn Gerald, professor of health promotion sciences at the College of Public Health and associate director of clinical research for the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center.
[Photo: Dr. Joe Gerald]
The committee unanimously recommended the establishment of a publicly funded, politically independent, impartial entity to systematically draft evidence-based policy recommendations addressing costs of prescription medications. This entity would generate evidence and action steps to ensure patients have equitable and affordable access to prescription medications, to maximize the value of public and private pharmaceutical expenditures, to support novel drug development within a market-based economy, and to preserve clinician and patient choice regarding personalized treatment.
Immediate priorities include making evidence-based recommendations regarding the need to have essential medicines with established clinical benefit from each drug class in all Tier 1 formularies and reducing barriers to timely generic drug availability.
The committee suggests that by making explicit, evidence-based recommendations, the entity can support the establishment of coherent national policies that expand access to affordable medications, improve the health of patients with chronic disease, and optimize the use of public and private resources.