No simple cure for high drug costs

Overall prescription costs spiked nearly 14 percent from 2014 to 2015, rising to $374 billion last year. That’s double the growth rate over the previous five years.

And when it comes down to a family of four buying groceries or high-priced specialty drugs, something’s got to give.

Recently, the news has been filled with stories about a pharmaceutical entrepreneur who raised the price of Daraprim, a drug critical to fighting certain infections in AIDS patients and pregnant women, from $13.50 a pill to $750. Stung by protests from physician groups, the company said it would lower the price.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton followed the lead of Bernie Sanders, a rival for the Democratic presidential nomination and a longtime critic of drug pricing, and came out with her own plan for reining in drug costs.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found that making high-priced drugs affordable is the public’s top health care priority across the political spectrum.

St. Louis-based Express Scripts, which manages drug benefits for insurance plans nationwide, forecasts that spending on specialty drugs will continue growing more than 20 percent a year through 2017.

Read more from the Kansas City Star


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