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Scott Howell on the Very Large Costs of Drug Utilization Management

A Health Podyssey

Scott Howell on the Very Large Costs of Drug Utilization Management

Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil interviews Scott Howell, chief strategy officer of US pharmaceuticals at Novartis Pharmaceuticals on drug utilization management and the tension between drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical benefit…
August 24, 2021

Scott Howell on the Very Large Costs of Drug Utilization Management

While estimates vary, spending on prescription drugs in the United States exceeds $500 billion per year. This makes drug prices a perennial health policy topic.

In this context, payers and manufacturers are in a constant battle. Manufacturers seek to expand their market while payers attempt to use their leverage to negotiate lower drug prices. Often, patients and clinicians are caught in the middle and left to navigate increasingly complex pharmaceutical insurance benefit design, tiered formularies, drug rebates, and drug coupon programs.

On today’s A Health Podyssey, Scott Howell, chief strategy officer of US pharmaceuticals at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, joins Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil to discuss how much the United States health system spends on drug utilization management.

Howell and co-authors published a paper in the August 2021 issue of Health Affairs exploring the growing burden of drug utilization management and seeking to quantify its financial cost.

They found combined costs shared among payers, manufacturers, physicians, and patients totaling almost a hundred billion dollars per year.

Order the August 2021 issue.

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