Drug therapy represents the greatest value in the U.S. health care system – but, if policymakers limit cost-sharing, many drug prices will skyrocket, warns a new study by National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow Devon Herrick.
“Because of the increasing use of drug therapy, out-of-pocket drug costs have become a political issue in Washington and across many states. To lower consumers’ drug bills, some policymakers have proposed limits on patients’ copays,” says Herrick.
But these proposals and laws are unnecessary and ill-advised because:
- Copays provide drug makers with an incentive to limit price hikes or risk alienating customers who could see their out-of-pocket costs rise.
- A $250 per month cap on out-of-pocket drug spending would benefit only about 1 percent of all Americans who take any prescription drug.
“The share of prescription costs Americans pay out of pocket has been falling for decades; most prescription drug costs are paid directly by drug plans sponsored by insurers and health plans,” says Herrick. “State and federal proposals to cap drug cost-sharing could actually lead to higher drug prices, higher premiums and force millions of Americans to pay more, albeit indirectly.”