Can we afford to cure disease?
A compelling question … and one that was addressed at the Milken Institute Global Conference earlier this month. Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer, was part of the panel that offered perspective on the high costs of medical innovation, potential solutions to pricing issues, and steps policymakers and the industry could take.
The Milken Institute Global Conference brought together more than 3,500 participants in a variety of fields to explore challenges and solutions to the world’s most pressing issues in financial markets, industry sectors, health, government and education.
FasterCures covered the discussion, writing, “Humana Chief Medical Officer Roy Beveridge noted that 50 percent of Humana’s budget for so-called “specialty drugs” (those typically administered in a doctor’s office or hospital rather than purchased at a retail pharmacy) is spent on 1.3 percent of its members with chronic conditions. All other cost centers, such as hospital care and physician visits, are transitioning from the traditional fee-for-service model to value-based payments. In Beveridge’s view, drug developers should be treated in the same fashion. Because Gilead’s hepatitis C drugs are so effective, Humana has found a way to cover them. But the benefits of many treatments are less clear-cut.”
“The major driver of our costs is chronic disease at this point,” Dr. Beveridge said. “It’s old age, it’s dementia, it’s congestive heart failure, it’s diabetes. And so this change in proportion in terms of cost is something which is crucially important. “
He said value-based agreements with pharmaceutical companies – where they are paid based on results – could help address the issue.