The Costly and Complicated World of Specialty Drugs

Each month, the International Foundation’s three resident benefits nerdthusiasts Julie Stich, Kelli Kolsrud and Justin Held, meet to discuss the top stories in retirement and health care, the latest benefits hot topics, and take a deeper dive into a trending benefits topic. This month, the team tackles specialty drugs and what plan sponsors can do to help control costs while supporting participants in need of such treatments. But first, a quick news update:

DOL’s Fiduciary/Conflict of Interest Rule
As mentioned in the previous podcast, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided against the rule. This month, Julie summarizes the current status of the rule and what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has up their sleeves.

Trump Administration Blueprint to Lower Prescription Drug Costs
Kelli explains that earlier in May, the Trump administration released a plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs with goals like increasing competition and reducing out-of-pocket spending for patients. Another idea is to require drug companies to disclose the list prices of drugs in TV ads.

Specialty Prescription Drugs
Expanding on the topic of drug costs and transparency, the podcast team takes a deep dive into the complicated and costly world of specialty drugs. The retail price of specialty drugs increased by almost 10% in 2015, following nine years of increases. While specialty drug prescriptions will be issued to only 1% to 2% of participants on average, their cost can account for one third to half of the entire prescription drug spend.

Discover why specialty drugs are priced so high, the science behind the drugs, and what plan sponsors can do to control costs. After you take a listen, e-mail podcast@ifebp.org if you have any specialty drug-related stories of your own to share.

Comment (1)

  1. Michelle A Mills

    Great information, I will be giving some of these recommendations to my leadership team.

    Reply

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