Rising U.S. Drug Prices Are Focus of Research Grant

July 21, 2015

The Wall Street Journal (Loftus, 7/21) reported that the Laura and John Arnold Foundation is awarding the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) a $5.2 million grant to expand research evaluating whether new drugs are worth their cost. "Some U.S. drug-plan managers credited the nonprofit last year with helping them secure big discounts on expensive new hepatitis C drugs, after ICER concluded the therapies would only be cost-effective at half their price." ICER plans to use the funding to double its staff and generate more reports recommend benchmark prices for drugs. "Health insurer Blue Shield of California, which has about 3.5 million members, plans to use ICER research to help it decide which drugs to pay for, and to guide 'what kind of target price we should shoot for in our negotiations with pharma manufacturers,' said Marcus Thygeson, chief health officer."