Turn to new tip sheet before writing about drug prices

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Photo: pixxiestails via Flickr

Photo: pixxiestails via Flickr

Drug prices have become a hot topic – and a significant source of the ongoing challenges to achieving affordable premiums and out-of-pocket costs in both Affordable Care Act exchange plans and employer-sponsored coverage. Drug costs are now the single largest health care concern of Americans across the political spectrum, according to some polls.

But it can be hard to know where to go to find out information about drug pricing and drug value (which aren’t the same thing).

Jonathan D. Rockoff

Jonathan D. Rockoff

Wall Street Journal reporters Jonathan RockoffJoseph Walker, Ed Silverman (now at Stat) and deputy bureau chief Jeanne Whalen won first place in the business reporting category of the 2015 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism for their project, “The Dysfunction in Drug Prices.”

Rockoff helped compile a handy tip sheet to help you get you started on drug price reporting of your own. He even included a link to a Consumer Union glossary (PDF), so the next time someone asks you to explain the difference among Average Manufacturer Price (AMP), Average Sales Price (ASP) and Average Wholesale Price (AWP) the answer can roll right off your tongue.

Along with the tip sheet, we’ve included samples of the award-winning work Rockoff and his colleagues have done on this topic, as well as a link to an essay they wrote for their award-winning AHCJ submission, explaining how they approach drug industry coverage.

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