AMA drives push for drug pricing transparency with grassroots campaign

November 30, 2016

The AMA has emphasized a need for drug pricing transparency by encouraging patients to share their stories on its TruthinRx.org website.

On November 1, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced that the aim of its new grassroots Truth In Rx, at TruthInRx.org, campaign and website was to put a spotlight on the need for drug pricing transparency by encouraging patients to share their stories.

The interactive site allows people to tell stories about how rising drug prices have impacted them. It also offers articles about why drug prices, including generics, are skyrocketing, how lawmakers are trying to tackle soaring drug costs and what transparency looks like. The site not only encourages patients to share their stories, but also shows consumers how to tell Congress to push for transparency.

Dermatology Times recently reported on soaring drug costs in a series of articles. According to AMA, the 20 percent increase in out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs from 2013 to 2015 caught the bipartisan attention of Congress, highlighted by the recent 400-percent price hike for EpiPens (Mylan)-seemingly without justification.

“Physicians strive to provide the best possible care to their patients, but increases in drug prices – without explanation – can affect their ability to offer patients the best possible drug treatments. A little sunlight will help patients navigate the world of capricious pricing that is putting some medications out of reach,” says AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., in a press release on Truth In Rx.

AMA is reaching out to the public to join its initiative to find the truth about prescription drug costs, given a lack of information on pricing negotiations or the role of industry players, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers and health insurers, according to AMA.

Weeks later AMA announced that it supports changing the fundamentals of drug pricing in a new policy.

“The new AMA policy acknowledges the carte blanche approach to drug pricing needs to change to align with the health system’s drive for high-quality care based on value,” Dr. Gurman says in a press release about the announcement. “This transformation should support drug prices based on overall benefit to patients compared to alternatives for treating the same condition. We need to have the full picture to assess a drug’s true value to patients and the health care system.”

The new policy’s approach includes determining value-based drug prices by objective, independent entities and making sure value-based drug prices are evidence-based, transparent and take affordability into consideration.

“The AMA principles emphasize that efforts to price prescription drugs based on value should ultimately benefit patients and the health care system without stifling innovation in the pharmaceutical industry,” Dr. Gurman says.