5 quotes on managing high drug costs from Ascension's COO

Patricia Maryland, DrPH, president of healthcare operations and COO for St. Louis-based Ascension, recently shared her thoughts on the dangers of high drug costs in an opinion piece for the The Hill.

Here are five quotes from Ms. Maryland.

1. On how drug prices affect patients

"As out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications have risen steadily, at a rate faster than inflation, many people are personally experiencing the hardship of rising costs … drug prices have prevented nearly one in 10 American adults from taking their medications as prescribed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics."

2. On how high drug prices affect the health system

"Astronomical price increases are depleting resources that health systems need to invest in delivery reforms to lower the cost curve while improving care. These prices also undermine our ability to provide affordable prescription medications to the vulnerable populations we serve and impact patient care … the costs we pay for increases in prescription drugs are dollars we're not able to invest in patient and community care."

3. On the cost of older drugs

"It's also devastating that we continue to see prices for drugs that have been around for decades suddenly and steeply increased with no apparent justification, on both branded and generic drugs."

4. On joining forces to tackle the issue

"We have joined the nonpartisan Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, a coalition of doctors, businesses, patient groups, hospitals and insurers who are working together to solve this problem. We call for meaningful market-based solutions that focus on open and honest pricing, promote more market competition and promote innovation and value."

5. On proposed changes to the drug industry

Potential solutions "include releasing the details of a drug's unit price and cost of treatment, annually reporting increases in a drug's list price and disclosing true research and development costs for drugs, along with speeding up Food and Drug Administration approval of generic drug applications, especially for life-saving drugs, and expanding value-based pricing in public programs."

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