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Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Professor

Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center

Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center
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Multiple Sclerosis Institute
Center for Neurological Disorders

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Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Clinical Attending in Neurology,
New York-Presbyterian Hospital
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Timothy L. Vollmer M.D.
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center
Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center

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Prescription Drug Cost Conversation About to Get Louder

Last month I wrote a blog post about MS prescription drug patient assistance programs and how I find them to be a Band-Aid — and “a dirty, infected Band-Aid at that.”

Well, that post got a bit of attention in the social media realm, and it got the attention of the traditional media as well, including USA Today, which has a story on drug maker-funded coupons and patient assistance programs in today’s online edition. (Scroll down to see a mention of yours truly.)

More Patients and Professionals Speaking Up

As you’ll see from the USA Today article, I’m not the only one speaking up about this topic.

At a recent conference held by the Association of Health Care Journalists in Orlando, Florida, panelists Peter Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City; Mark McClellan, director of the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina; and David Mitchell, founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs, presented their views on the problem of high drug costs, barriers to bringing down prices, and where they see hope for changing the current drug pricing system.

While they all agreed that the current system isn’t working — and noted that drug coupons hide actual prices of drugs — they differed on potential solutions. Bach and McClellan favored “value-based pricing,” in which drugs are priced based on outcomes for the patient. Mitchell argued that drug prices should simply be lowered “at the get-go,” and drugs that don’t work (or have low value) should be taken off the market.

Add Your Voice to the Conversation About Drug Prices

I believe it’s time to do something, say something, and start something when it comes to lowering the crippling cost of disease-modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis.

We can all do something and say something by submitting our stories about how high drug prices are hurting us to the Patients for Affordable Drugs’ Share Your Story page.

I have read about too many people who can’t afford their medications, or who make decisions about what medications to take based on price alone. We should all have the medical right to consider which medications to take (or not to take) in consultation with our medical professionals and our families.

I’ve written before that a person who is not on an MS disease-modifying therapy because he can’t find an affordable drug that doesn’t make him sick is not making a choice not to take drugs. In fact, he has no choice in the matter.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by EVERYDAYHEALTH
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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