New Let’s Talk About Cost TV ad asks: Why aren’t patients sharing in savings at the pharmacy counter?

Priscilla VanderVeer
Priscilla VanderVeer July 9, 2019

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For the last two years, our Let’s Talk About Cost campaign has sought to answer questions people have about their medicine costs and advance a dialogue on how we can make medicines more affordable for patients. Too often patients across America struggle to afford their medicines and we support solutions like ensuring discounts and rebates are shared with patients at the pharmacy counter.

Today, we are launching the first-ever Let’s Talk About Cost television advertisement to reaffirm our commitment and generate more conversation about solutions to the challenges patients face affording their medicines.

This new advertisement builds on previous print, digital and radio to put a spotlight on the role insurers and middlemen like pharmacy benefit managers play in determining what a patient pays out of pocket for their medicine.

Research shows that on average, 40% of the list price of medicines is given as rebates or discounts to insurance companies, the government, pharmacy benefit managers and other entities in the supply chain. These rebates and discounts exceeded $166 billion in 2018 alone and are growing every year.

The new advertisement underscores the importance of a rule, proposed earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, that would encourage the rebates Medicare Part D plans negotiate with biopharmaceutical companies to be passed through to seniors at the pharmacy counter. In Part D alone, the average rebate is 35%, but those savings are not always shared with seniors. This rule could save some seniors hundreds of dollars on their medicines each year, especially those with chronic diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C. Data also show that, given the already low average premiums in Part D, the average premium increase would be more than offset by the average savings provided under this rule.

As policymakers continue to discuss medicine costs, we believe it is imperative to focus on changes, like reforming the rebate system in Medicare Part D, that can lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs, improve access to cutting-edge treatments and cures, and drive competition to help bring down costs.

Visit LetsTalkAboutCost.org to watch the advertisement. To support lowering seniors’ out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter, visit Innovation.org/votersforcures.

Topics: Drug Cost, Let's Talk About Cost