Washington, D.C. (March 18, 2009) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Ken Johnson issued the following statement today regarding the Best Drugs for Less report by Consumers Union:
"PhRMA supports efforts to make sure patients and providers have high-quality information to guide their treatment and health care decisions. As noted by Consumers Union, there is an ‘enormous’ volume of evidence available on prescriptions drugs.
“The research conducted by America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies and other organizations plays an important role in helping physicians deliver the best treatment to each patient. Because many patients respond differently to treatments, the medicine that is best on average is not always best for the individual.
“We agree with Consumers Union that it is important for patients to discuss treatment options with their doctor, who can use the available evidence, along with his or her expertise and knowledge of the individual patient, to prescribe the best care for the individual.
“Consumers Union also correctly points to the significant impact of high drug co-payments on patients. In fact, researchers have found that increasing patient co-payments reduces use of needed medicines and leads to increases in visits to the emergency room and hospital for patients with several chronic conditions.
“Co-payments and other utilization management tools play a significant role in influencing prescribing decisions, and are a major factor behind the increasing use of generic drugs in the U.S., which rose to a record high of 68 percent of all prescriptions in 2007. At the same time, growth in spending on medicines has fallen to its lowest level in more than 40 years.
“We appreciate Consumers Union's recognition of the significant impact of high co-payments on patients, and hope we can work with them to develop better evidence on the impact of cost-sharing on patient health under the government's comparative effectiveness research program.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.
PhRMA Internet Address: www.phrma.org
For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: www.pparx.org