An interesting Article from PharmExec.com back in August, discussed the situation with Statins in Belgium.
I think it clearly demonstrates that , whatever controls are placed on pharmaceuticals, you must bring physicians and pharmacies on side. If a drug with ample scientific research, major market share , and physician preference goes off patent, should we not encourage its continued usage? It is all well and fine to attack the pharmaceutical industry for their promotional activity but why not look at how we treat drugs that have faced the patent cliff. Currently , there are over 1000 drug plans across this country. Physicians can't and don't know which third party plan any patient has! There is a level of frustration with plans as controls most often mean more paperwork, callbacks, delays in therapy , etc. They have an obligation to give the best standard of care they can and that includes the best drug they believe available. The pharmaceutical companies direct the education toward their new products (some of which offer little or no advantage over existing medications) Perhaps it is time that we look to changes in how the conversion over the patent cliff is handled by the plans. Put in place, physician focused positive techniques rather than the negative methods currently used or a combination of these as controls are necessary too. To do this , Payers need to direct some attention to helping the primary decision maker (The Physician) .
The above example from Belgium clearly shows that you can lower prices but the primary decision maker must be part of the solution.