What happens when employers are forced to choose between their earnings per share and the opportunity to cure employees facing serious illness via expensive medication? That’s a very real dilemma that may soon face companies, thanks to the tidal wave of expensive specialty drugs in development, soon to be launched into the marketplace.
One such drug is Sovaldi, an oral treatment for hepatitis C that was approved in December 2013. This medication, featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article (subscription required), is typically offered as a 12-week therapy, with a treatment price tag of approximately $84,000. Unlike any other medications currently available, Sovaldi eliminates the hepatitis C virus in nearly 90 percent of patients. This is important news because if not treated successfully, the resulting liver disease may require a liver transplant down the road—which is even more costly than the expensive medication. As a result, the answer to the $84,000 question is yes, Sovaldi may actually save money for employers.
Better still, the continued development and introduction of new specialty medications, offering competition for Sovaldi and other equally expensive specialty drugs, spells good news for employers and their health plans. A more competitive specialty drug marketplace will provide the ability to negotiate with manufacturers to achieve lower prices.
If creating a strategy for handling the high cost of specialty medications is a priority for your organization, see what Sarah Martin, Senior Actuarial Consultant in Lockton’s Pharmacy Analytics Practice, has to say about Sovaldi and other specialty drugs in our latest Benefits Insight & Guidance.
Please click to read How a High-Cost Drug Helps Avoid Higher-Cost Complications.