Opinion: 4 reasons drug prices will continue to rise in 2017

Bob Kocher, MD, and Bryan Roberts are partners at the venture capital firm Venrock, where they specialize in healthcare-related investment opportunities. In an article for Fortune, Dr. Kocher and Mr. Roberts share 10 healthcare predictions for 2017.

Among their predictions is that drug prices will continue to rise in 2017.

Here are four reasons price hikes will continue, according to Dr. Kocher and Mr. Roberts.

1. While Congress has held hearings with drugmakers like Mylan or Valeant about high drug costs, it has done little to curtail price hikes that far surpass inflation.

2. When drug prices increase, everyone who touches the medication — including pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies and sometimes even providers — all make money. The current drug delivery ecosystem allows these entities to improve their bottom lines at the expense of commercial employers funding healthcare.

3. Patients are continually desensitized to the high price of drugs through co-pay coupons and out-of-pocket maximums lower than the list price of their medications.

4. It's unlikely new legislation will be passed in 2017 that would allow the re-importation of drugs from countries with lower prices or enable Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

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