Pharmaceutical Pricing Practices, Utilization and Costs - Meeting Summary. Summary Overview


On August 8th and 9th, 2000, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), sponsored a conference at the request of the White House to clarify what is known about pricing practices within the pharmaceutical industry and the distribution chain.

ASPE's hope was that the 2-day conference would (1) clarify what is known about prescription drug pricing, utilization, and costs; (2) bring together a wide range of people to share information, insights, and perspectives strategies for realizing the benefits of prescription drugs while controlling the growth in expenditures; and (3) identify questions that are critical to address so that policymakers can make more informed decisions regarding prescription drugs in the coming years.

The conference had four main sessions:

  1. What's the Problem? A Synthesis of Research on Pharmaceutical Cost Pressures and Trends;
  2. Pricing Practices in the Pharmaceutical Market;
  3. Pharmaceutical Utilization Issues; and
  4. Strategies for Controlling Costs and Increasing Value From Pharmaceutical Expenditures.

Each session included both formal presentations and discussion by a diverse panel of about 25 people representing a wide range of stakeholders--including drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), purchasers, health care providers, consumer advocates--as well as prescription drug researchers and general health policy analysts. The idea was to use the formal presentations as a springboard for panel members and the general audience to share their insights and perspectives.

This report summarizes the discussion at the prescription drug conference, highlights the key points raised by conference participants, and identifies unanswered questions that participants suggested be addressed as part of a research agenda in this area.