Healthcare CEOs want government to negotiate drug prices

Nov 13, 2015, 15:47 ET from Modern Healthcare

CHICAGO, Nov. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- An overwhelming majority of healthcare leaders say rising costs for prescription drugs are financially harming their organizations, with nearly half (45%) saying that impact has been "very negative," according to Modern Healthcare's CEO Power Panel survey for the fourth quarter of 2015. Most also say the high prices set by pharmaceutical firms for new specialty medications is not justified in terms of the value they bring to patients. And an overwhelming majority say the government should begin negotiating drug prices on behalf of payers, providers and consumers.

"The rising price of drugs has clearly risen to the top of the agenda for most healthcare leaders," said Merrill Goozner, editor of Modern Healthcare. "The results of the survey show CEOs at major institutions would like prompt government action to address the problem."

The panel, which is comprised of 100 top leaders drawn from some of the nation's most important healthcare systems, health insurers, trade associations and large physician practices, was surveyed in early November. Modern Healthcare launched its quarterly CEO Power Panel survey in the second quarter of this year to provide the nation's policy makers and public with insights into the opinions and thinking of the nation's healthcare leaders.

An overwhelming majority of the group said they would like to see the government negotiate with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to get better prices for their life-saving products. Fully 85% of the 77 respondents who answered that question endorsed direct government action.

"Historically I'm not a big fan of government intervention in business," said Matthew Aug, president and CEO of Cox Health Plans, a Springfield, Missouri-based insurer and affiliate of integrated health network Cox Health. "But I think some intervention on the part of government – whether it is on price setting or price increases – I think could definitely help people out."

But in a surprising finding, more health leaders see the rise in generic drug prices as their biggest concern followed closely behind by overall spending on drugs and the rising price of branded drugs, especially specialty drugs.

"We're all used to the new brand name drugs being priced out of this world," said Dr. Joseph Vasile, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association, a New York-based physician group with 1,225 member physicians. "But now all of a sudden that sort of safe haven - the generics – the prices are skyrocketing too, so it's like you're getting hit from all different fronts."

The survey's results and article can be found online at and in the Nov. 16 edition of Modern Healthcare, the nation's leading source of healthcare business news.  

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SOURCE Modern Healthcare