Pharmaceutical Pricing Practices, Utilization and Costs - Meeting Summary. 5. Research Questions: U.S. Pharmaceutical Cost Pressures and Trends

01/01/2004

Conference participants suggested that the following questions might be addressed as part of a research agenda in the area of pharmaceutical cost pressures and trends:

  • What are the components of the recent double-digit growth in U.S. expenditures on prescription drugs? What policy implications flow from the finding that one factor or another--e.g., change in the mix of drugs, unit price inflation, or increased utilization of prescription--has contributed to this growth?
     
  • What could policymakers do to slow total U.S. spending on prescription drugs? What intended and unintended effects would various strategies for slowing aggregate spending have?
     
  • What should policymakers do to slow total U.S. spending on prescription drugs?
     
  • What is the value of U.S. expenditures on prescription drugs from a societal perspective? In particular, how does society value these expenditures in the context of the health care system, social welfare objectives, and economic growth?
     
  • What might be done to improve the functioning and competitiveness of the U.S. pharmaceutical market? In particular, what might be done to improve the information available to decisionmakers and align the economic incentives of various parties--Federal Government agencies, drug manufacturers, physicians, patients, PBMs, health plans--to achieve the maximum safety, value, and innovation of prescription drugs?
     
  • What effects would the establishment of a Medicare prescription drug benefit have on the utilization and costs of prescription drugs in the United States? What effects would it have on the utilization and costs of other health services?