NOTE: Some of the content that appears in this standalone mini-course also appears in our more comprehensive 101 course – Beyond the Science: The Business of Drug Development.
With rapidly increasing health-care costs, increasing U.S. budget deficit and a weak economy, reducing health-care costs is a necessity.
The high price of the new highly effective Hepatitis C cure, Sovaldi, ignited a public outcry over drug prices. The U.S. is starting down the road to utilizing pharmacoeconomics, which will likely play a role in almost every aspect of the pharmaceutical business. For instance, pricing of new drugs based on cost benefit is becoming necessary for reimbursement by health-care payers. Also, setting a defendable price to calculate potential sales for a company’s business plan to raise financing is becoming more and more important.
In the basic materials in this mini-course, health-care costs in the U. S. will be compared with other developed nations. We pay twice as much as other nations, and overall our health-care outcomes rank last. This is reason enough for pharmacoeconomic analysis.
Also in the basic materials, the various pharmacoeconomic measures cost benefit, cost effectiveness and cost utility will be defined.
The payer/reimburser and legislative pushback over high drug prices will be looked at. The concept of pricing drugs through pharmacoeconomic analysis as the way to defend against pushback over high drug prices will be explored mainly in the Advanced Materials in this mini-course.
In the Advanced Materials, you will learn how to conduct a pharmacoeconomic analysis beginning with clinical states diagrams, which are flow charts that trace a patient’s journey and costs through the medical system. For instance, pharmacoeconomic analysis can find the total cost of treatment with and without your drug. In that way, the analysis finds the cost benefit and cost effectiveness of your drug.
Sovaldi is the first marketed small-molecule drug to cure Hepatitis C chronic infections. In the analysis example in the mini-course, year after year treatment cost is traced for patients harboring Hep C infections, before Sovaldi and the other new Hep C drugs came on the scene. The analysis will show that the nearly $100,000 treatment price for these drugs has negative cost-benefit; that is, the drugs cost more than treatment without them. That is the reason health-care payers have balked at or “pushed-back” at paying for treatment.
Finally, drug pricing through pharmacoeconomics and other means will be discussed.
Each online mini-course is equivalent to about 2-3 live classroom lectures.
Purchase of any mini-course in this series provides several resources:
- The mini-course with dozens of visuals and audios
- A mini-textbook of the mini-course material, yours to download and keep
- Several handouts to supplement both the mini-course and mini-textbook
- A Certificate of Completion for those who pass a simple exam on key points
The mini-courses feature both basic material and advanced material, depending on how deeply you wish to pursue a topic.
There are several ways to learn:
- Look and listen to get a general overview of the topic
- Study the material by stopping frequently as you go through the mini-course
- Read the mini-textbook to supplement the mini-course and to keep as a future reference
- Delve deeply into a topic by reading the handouts and accessing directly the Internet address references on your screen
- Arrange for an Office Hours session with the lecturer as an earlier adopter
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