Experts: High drug prices are forcing patients to make risky choices

Experts warn that the nation's troubled drug pricing system is compelling some patients to make decisions that can adversely affect their health.

Experts warn that the nation's troubled drug pricing system is compelling some patients to make decisions that can adversely affect their health. Sameer Awsare, MD, an internist and associate executive director for The Permanente Medical Group, recalls that one of his congestive heart failure patients wound up in the emergency room because of inadequate care management. The patient had been taking her medications every other day because she was unable to afford them, says Awsare, who spoke a recent online event on drug prices hosted by the Alliance for Health Policy. Some patients are also turning to purchasing medications from overseas. Dora Hughes, MD, a senior policy adviser at Sidley Austin LLP, says FDA has unveiled several initiatives designed to raise competition in drug markets. "[Commissioner Scott Gottlieb] startled stakeholders with fairly tough talk," she said. "This has certainly not been the traditional role or focus of the FDA."