Regulating prices on new medicine is a challenge

Published on Wednesday, 22 May 2019 20:46
Written by Japan News-Yomiuri

As medicine advances, a succession of highly efficacious but extremely costly therapeutic drugs have arrived on the market. The issue of how to keep medical costs from swelling, while benefiting patients in need of such effective medicines, is an important challenge.

Biological drugs, involving technologies such as genetic engineering, have become the mainstream of new drugs. Due to their complex productions processes, development costs pile up, making their prices extremely high.

But if extremely costly drugs continue to spread in the future, concerns about their straining health insurance finances cannot be dispelled.

The important thing is to develop a system that can examine whether the drugs’ prices are at an appropriate level.

For insurance coverage of a drug to win public acceptance, the pricing process must be made as transparent as possible.

It is also necessary for drug prices to be reviewed appropriately in light of their actual use, for instance.

In order to keep the system sustainable while having public health insurance cover the administration of ultra-expensive drugs, it is necessary to consider to what extent drugs for minor illnesses should be covered by insurance.

The idea has also emerged that items for which alternatives are readily available on the open market, such as compresses or vitamin compounds, should be excluded from insurance coverage.

Relevant discussions should be deepened.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Editorials on Wednesday, 22 May 2019 20:46. Updated: Wednesday, 22 May 2019 20:48.