The AHA, Federation of American Hospitals, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists today convened a panel of experts on Capitol Hill to discuss how continued rising drug prices, as well as shortages for many critical medications, are disrupting patient care and forcing hospitals to delay infrastructure and staffing investments and identify alternative therapies.
 
Kathleen Pawlicki, vice president and chief pharmacist of Beaumont Health in Michigan and president-elect of ASHP, said the cost of staff time and resources in determining and planning contingencies for these shortages is “astronomical.” Beaumont uses the equivalent of six full-time staff – or 12,000 hours per year – to manage and monitor drug shortages.
 
The panel, which included Martin VanTrieste, president and CEO of Civica Rx – a not-for-profit generic drug company established last year by several hospitals and health systems to address shortages and high prices of medications; Jack Hoadley, research professor emeritus at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute; Molly Smith, AHA vice president for coverage and state issues; and Erik Rasmussen, AHA vice president of federal relations; discussed findings from a recent report prepared by NORC at the University of Chicago for the AHA, FAH and ASHP.
 
Among other findings, the report showed that average total drug spending per hospital admission increased by 18.5 percent between fiscal years 2015 and 2017, including increases in some drug classes of more than 80 percent and exceeding the Medicare payment update by fivefold.
 
To restrain out-of-control drug prices, the AHA has recommended several solutions, including stopping brand-name manufacturers' anticompetitive actions by addressing ever-greening and pay-for-delay practices, speeding up generic drug approvals, and passing the CREATES Act.

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