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HHS Forum on Pharmaceuticals

HHS recently convened a multi-stakeholder meeting on pharmaceutical access, affordability and innovation. While the impetus behind the meeting was at least in part due to ongoing conversations with states around Medicaid’s attempts to balance access and affordability, the meeting enabled many other stakeholders (consumers and patients, insurers, manufacturers, and others) to discuss their respective challenges and begin a dialogue on finding solutions.

The forum, with only a day to hear from several hundred stakeholders, confirmed one thing: solutions will be hard to come by. Still, participants expressed a willingness to explore ideas, identify gaps in knowledge and assess existing regulatory barriers. And the meeting itself provided an opportunity for level setting among all stakeholders around the current landscape for access, affordability and innovation

In fact, several participants discussed how the concept of value-based purchasing (which is increasingly becoming a key goal in many state Medicaid programs) could be applied to prescription drug coverage. This appears to hold promise, although the challenge will come in how to operationalize it within the specific statutory and regulatory constraints of the Medicaid program.

Whatever the solution, by working together, we can build upon the efforts of the forum and find solutions that make sense for patients and payers alike, all the while ensuring that we offer the right levels of incentives for the industry to truly innovate.


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