How Therapeutic Alternatives Can Substantially Lower Drug Costs
December 16, 2015
The holistic approach in Western medical practice considers all of a person’s needs―physical, psychological, social, and spiritual―when creating a treatment plan. It addresses the whole person. What if physicians prescribed drugs with a similar mindset towards the healthcare system as a whole? Comprehensive pricing data could empower doctors to prescribe drugs that provide equal care, at lower costs, and protect payer’s from exploding drug inflation. Eliminating waste, while fighting pricing manipulations, would create a healthier system “holistically.” This is why insurers need digital health applications that can improve efficiencies and reduce waste.
In the Washington Post, a retinal surgeon, Dr. Andrew Lam wrote an opinion piece that was a forceful case for educating doctors about prescription drug prices. With arbitrary drug pricing, similar drugs can have wildly different costs. Dr. Lam writes about his experience:
“I’m a doctor with a miracle drug. Three of them, in fact. Their names are Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea. I use them to treat the number one cause of blindness in Americans over sixty-five: wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).”
After diagnosing wet-AMD, Lam prescribes one of these drugs after discussing the three options with his patient. He discusses their similarities and differences, especially their costs, because the biggest difference in these three drugs is the cost. Lucentis costs approximately $2000 a month, Elyea costs $1850, but he prefers to prescribe Avastin which costs $50 a month. His goal is to collaborate with the patient to consider every detail and decide which drug has the greatest value. His motivation is conscience.
“In a healthcare system with limited resources, the decision to use a medicine that costs $50 or an alternative that costs forty times more has an enormous impact on our collective future.”
A conversation between a patient and their physician is the most important intersection in healthcare. With prescription prices rising, injecting effective data into this intersection is critically important to help lower drug costs. RXRevu’s platform will motivate physicians and empower their patients to make decisions reducing out-of-pocket and systemic costs. In the case of Dr. Lam, he is a doctor that has knowledge of his treatments, their costs, as well as his options. The price differences between Eylea, Lucentis, and Avastin are enormous and the difference scaled nationally are staggering.
“A 2014 Health Affairs study showed that Medicare, and American taxpayers, could save $18 billion over the next ten years if doctors switched to Avastin.”
These are extremely large savings in one small corner of the prescription drug market. Imagine doctors with choices like this expanded outwards, system wide. RxREVU is a prescription decision support platform that has comprehensive data on all medicines and can find sometimes equally effective alternatives at lower cost burdens. This is Data with a powerful upside. RxREVU could create an army of Dr. Lams and that army could fix the healthcare system as a whole.