Thursday, July 26, 2018

Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

In May 2018, drug pricing took center stage as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released its proposed Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs. It what has been characterized as "a way forward in fight against mushrooming costs,"[1] HHS has set the stage for an extremely important debate...and likely the most contentious battle on health policy since passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Drug Prices
Photo Source: NBC WPSD-6

According to the Notice published in the Federal Register, HHS' blueprint covers multiple areas including, but not limited to:[2]
  • Improving competition and ending the gaming of the regulatory process,
  • supporting better negotiation of drug discounts in government-funded insurance programs,
  • creating incentives for pharmaceutical companies to lower list prices, and,
  • reducing out-of-pocket spending for patients at the pharmacy and other sites of care.
Comments on the blueprint were due on or before July 16, 2018.

The ADAP Advocacy Association endorsed two coalition letters submitted to HHS.

One letter, spearheaded by the Patient Access Network Foundation (PAN), "cautions against HHS undertaking policy changes without evidence-based research. HHS must be confident that any changes it makes will have the intended positive impact on individuals and families, with no unintended consequences that could harm patients and make prescription drugs less affordable and accessible."[3] PAN's letter was signed by 52 patient advocacy organizations, representing millions of patients with serious, life-threatening, chronic, complex and disabling conditions.

The other letter was a collaborative effort led by the HIV Health Care Access Working Group (HHCAWG), which represents over 100 national and community-based HIV service organizations representing HIV medical providers, public health professionals, advocates, and people living with HIV who are all committed to ensuring access to critical HIV- and Hepatitis C-related health care and support services.

We have compiled a listing of the comments submitted by some other organizations, which are available to download here:


[1] Aronson, Lauren (2018, July 13). Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices could offer a way forward in fight against mushrooming costs. The Hill. Retrieved online at
[2] A Notice by the Health and Human Services Department (2018, May 16). HHS Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs. Retrieved online at
[3] Naples, Maggie (2018, July 17). National Patient Advocacy Organizations Come Together to Respond to the HHS Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket (OOP) Costs. Patient Access Network Foundation. Retrieved online at

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