The Effect of Value-Based Drug Pricing on Patient Health Outcomes: More of what’s needed—Efficacy, Access, and Affordability

Lyfegen Editorial Team


Under value-based drug pricing, the cost of a prescription medication reflects the value of the health benefit patients receive from the drug. Patients gain better access to effective, high-priced prescription medications, while health insurers manage financial risk and reduce healthcare costs.


U.S. consumers are paying more for prescription drugs

Patients in the U.S. pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. How much higher? Here’s an example:

According to a 2020 study by RAND Health Care, the manufacturer’s average price per standard unit of insulin in the U.S. is $98.70 compared to an average price of $8.81 in other industrialized countries.

Another 2020 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that, even after discounts and rebates, American consumers and health insurers pay more than double for most prescription drugs when compared to patients and insurers in other industrialized countries. Estimates included in a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) to the White House reveal patients who use prescription medications spend an average of $1,567 per person on prescription drugs each year.

High drug costs affect patient health outcomes

Patients may forgo treatment when high drug prices make healthcare too expensive. A recent poll of 1,526 adults conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) revealed about 3 out of 10 survey respondents had not taken their medications as prescribed over the last 12 months because of the cost.

Twenty-five percent of those surveyed reported taking four or more prescription drugs—members of this group were more likely to report difficulty affording their prescriptions. Instead of taking their medications as prescribed, the KFF survey found patients who had trouble paying for their medications often did one or more of the following:

  • • Didn’t fill the prescription
  • • Skipped doses or cut pills in half
  • • Substituted with an over-the-counter medication


Value-based drug pricing improves health outcomes

Value-based pricing relates the cost of a drug to the clinical benefit patients receive from the drug. When executed correctly, value-based healthcare (VBHC) contracts give patients greater access to effective treatments to improve their health outcomes while insurers pay drug prices that are in line with the value of the health benefit the drug offers.

Determining which drugs produce the greatest positive impact on health outcomes relies on the enormous task of collecting and analyzing patient-level healthcare data. One of the important ways VBHC contributes to better patient outcomes is by providing reliable, actionable, real-world data about healthcare costs.

When real-world data about a high-priced drug shows limited health benefits—or the same benefit as a similar, lower-priced drug—insurers can restrict access to the high-priced drug by requiring strict prior authorizations or increasing patient cost-sharing. When real-world data show a drug is effective, safe, and cost-effective relative to other treatments on the market, both healthcare providers and insurers work to facilitate access to that drug for patients who need it.


The Lyfegen Platform supports the transition to value-based healthcare

Lyfegen has developed a software platform that helps health insurance companies, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers manage value-based drug pricing contracts with greater efficiency and transparency. The Lyfegen platform uses machine learning to collect and analyze patient-level drug cost data to execute complex pay-for-performance agreements.

If your organization is considering the transformation from fee-for-service to value-based healthcare, Lyfegen can help. Contact us to learn more and to arrange a free demonstration of our platform.



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