‘Specialty Tier’ Drug Costs Hit California’s Retirement Agency Hard
The state public pension system says that specialty drugs made up less than 1 percent of all prescriptions for its members but 30 percent of the total drugs costs in 2014. In other pharmaceutical news, the Children's Oncology Group proposes a way to deal with drug shortages.
How High-Cost Specialty Drugs Impact California
What’s behind the jaw-dropping cost of new “specialty drugs” like Orkambi, which has a sticker price of $259,000 per year for cystic fibrosis patients? Orkambi is listed as a “specialty tier” drug in some private health plans. That category is reserved for high-cost drugs, or, in the federal government’s view, for drugs that cost more than $600 a month and are used by a small proportion of patients. Specialty drugs are already proving to be a financial burden on one California agency, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which purchases health benefits for active and retired state workers.(Bartolone, 2/4)
Payers & Providers:
Should Cancer Drugs Be Rationed?
A Los Angeles-based advocacy group for pediatric cancer patients has proposed a framework to cope with ongoing and future shortages of oncology drugs. The proposal, put forth by the Children's Oncology Group and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests a combination of identifying which drugs are in shortage, evaluating the severity of the shortage, and then formulating an allocation plan for such drugs. (2/4)