Consumers Union expert weighs in on drug price hikes, other cost challenges

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Lynn Quincy

Lynn Quincy

Mylan’s price hike for its EpiPen allergy medication is just the latest example of health care costs pressuring consumers, Consumers Union’s Lynn Quincy told AHCJ members in a recent webcast.

Quincy, who leads the consumer-advocacy group’s Healthcare Value Hub and has backed efforts to curb rising drug prices, pointed to other recent price increases such as those by drugmakers Valeant and Turing as symptoms of a massive “market failure.”

“We are overpaying for health care,” she said in the Aug. 30 members-only event.

“This is a massive consumer hardship.”

The webinar, “Covering consumers: Tackling costs, pricing and access,” took a look beyond the cost headlines to look at what is driving the growing costs of health care in the United states, particularly with drug prices.

Quincy, an economist by training with a focus on health care policy, also walked AHCJ members through how to find transparent information on quality and costs for drugs and services as well as how to sort out wide price variations for what may at first glance seem like the same care.

The training session also addressed how location and geography can push prices up or down, and the impact that certain consumer behavior can also play, particularly when it comes to health insurance coverage.

Missed the webinar? AHCJ members can access an archived version here.

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