ASHP submitted a statement for the Thursday, May 9, 2019, Health Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce hearing, "Lowering Drug Prices: Deconstructing the Drug Supply Chain." ASHP's President-Elect and MSHP Past President Kathleen Pawlicki was scheduled to testify.
"We continually hear from pharmacy leaders in hospitals and health systems that sudden, inexplicable and unpredictable price increases in connection with some of the most commonly used, longstanding generic medications are becoming more prevalent - and are occurring on a nationwide basis," the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists said in the statement.
The statement highlights ASHP's support of legislation to reduce prices, including efforts to loosen restrictions that prevent generic drug companies from obtaining the samples necessary to manufacture a competing product.
Below are five additional issues addressed in the ASHP statement with key quotes from the statement on each issue.
- "Price increases often occur for drugs that have only one or two manufacturers. ASHP encourages the Committee to consider policy approaches to stimulate competition for generic products with few manufacturers."
Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies
- "We believe that there may be current cases in which a manufacturer-driven REMS using restricted distribution are causing higher prices for those drugs, having adverse effects on patient access, and delaying treatment."
Direct and Indirect Remuneration (Pharmacy Benefits Managers)
- "Pharmacy providers are essentially being penalized with backdoor fees without any requirement that pharmacy benefits managers define, justify or explain these charges to providers and to CMS. It is an arbitrary application of quality measures meant for total plan performance as opposed to pharmacy-level metrics."
Importation of prescription drugs
- "We urge the FDA and state boards of pharmacy to vigorously enforce federal and state laws in relation to importation of pharmaceuticals by individuals, distributors (including wholesalers) and pharmacies that bypass a safe and secure regulatory framework."
- The 340B Drug Pricing Program
- "The federal 340B program is not causing high drug prices. The program accounts for less than five percent of annual drug purchases in the United States, while safety-net providers give 30 percent of the care. Given the increasingly high cost of pharmaceuticals, the federal 340B program provides critical support to the entities eligible to participate in the program."