Drug Prices 'Work Against Patients,' Pharma Exec Admits

by Lara DeSanto Health Writer

High Rx costs are no new thing. But pharmaceutical execs actually copping to it? It happened yesterday.

In a hearing in D.C., senators grilled top executives from pharma companies including Pfizer, Merck, and Sanofi about list prices of medications, some of which can be life-saving for patients.

During three hours of questioning, the pharma CEOs told senators that prices are set so high in order for them to pay rebates to insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers, reported The Washington Post.

While the CEOs spent the hearing deflecting blame, Merck chief executive Kenneth C. Frazier acknowledged the undue burden placed on patients, especially those without insurance.

“The list price is actually working against the patient,’’ Frazier said. “The people who can least afford it are paying the most.’’

He and other pharma CEOs suggested doing away with rebates would solve the problem, rather than other potential solutions like government regulations on drug prices.

In the meantime, you’re not totally powerless in reducing the costs of your meds. Try these tricks for saving money on treatments for cancer, thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and migraine.

Lara DeSanto
Meet Our Writer
Lara DeSanto

Lara is a former digital editor for HealthCentral, covering Sexual Health, Digestive Health, Head and Neck Cancer, and Gynecologic Cancers. She continues to contribute to HealthCentral while she works towards her masters in marriage and family therapy and art therapy. In a past life, she worked as the patient education editor at the American College of OB-GYNs and as a news writer/editor at WTOP.com.