CLSA in The Sacramento Bee: Assembly Should Consider Real Drivers of Health Costs

Assembly Should Consider Real Drivers of Health Costs
By Sara Radcliffe | Letter to Editor | The Sacramento Bee
June 14, 2017

Re “The difference between life and death for diabetics(Vewpoints, June 9): Healthcare costs are on the minds of many Californians, but, as when buying a car, the cost and the list price can differ greatly. By focusing on list prices, Sen. Ed Hernandez distorts true costs, failing to ask whether drug discounts and rebates reach patients, or are pocketed by middlemen.

As middlemen demand bigger rebates to make medicine accessible at a reasonable co-pay, list prices often go up to meet demand. One Novo Nordisk insulin has increased 270 percent in list price since 2003, but that increase falls to 3 percent after discounts and rebates. How much of the 267 percent difference is kept by middlemen like pharmacy benefit managers and not passed on to patients? No bill before the Legislature, including Hernandez’s, will give the public any insight. We urge the Assembly to reject SB 17 as written.

Sara Radcliffe, California Life Sciences Association president, Sacramento