We see articles every week about the rising cost of healthcare and nearly every article has some mention of drug expenditure and the national, regional and local attempts to control costs. Whilst many of us recognise that the drugs budget is not the only driver of the debate, especially in publically funded health systems, it is an area that has been targeted with public and private sector initiatives. One of the most recent initiatives was reported in an article by George Underwood in PharmaTimes Online.
The article reports that the UK Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has suggested that one of the best approaches to optimise the use of medicines could involve focusing on patients, empowering them to improve their own outcomes, take their medicines correctly and avoid taking unnecessary drugs. This approach certainly may have some merit and gain traction, especially in the current climate of having the patient the centre of treatment decisions. But at some point there will still need to be a discussion about budget, regardless of the role patients will play in medicines management. Discussion around managing the drugs budget needs to be local and relevant to the jurisdiction and allow all stakeholders to engage in that conversation in an active, flexible and explorative way. In those key conversations about drug funding it helps if payers and providers can ask questions and consider ‘what if scenarios’ ; it helps if they can investigate their specific populations; it certainly helps if they can consider their own local costs and budget limitations and explore affordability and value as part of the same discussion. We recognise that these funding discussions can be simple or complex but regardless of complexity what helps is having the framework and data on hand to inform that discussion and resulting decisions. Our interactive payer communications tools allow you to engage in these discussion with ease and confidence.
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