Improving the affordability of prescription medications for people with chronic respiratory disease an official American thoracic society policy statement

Minal R. Patel, Joe K. Gerald, Lynn B. Gerald, Valerie G. Press, Teresa B.A. Barnes, Kathryn Blake, Lee K. Brown, Richard W. Costello, Courtney Crim, Mark Forshag, Andrea S. Gershon, Christopher H. Goss, Meilan K. Han, Todd A. Lee, Nuala Moore, Stuart Sweet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Mounting evidence indicates that out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications, particularly among low- and middle-income patients with chronic diseases, are imposing financial burden, reducing medication adherence, and worsening health outcomes. This problem is exacerbated by a paucity of generic alternatives for prevalent lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as high-cost medicines for rare diseases, such as cystic fibrosis. Affordability and access challenges are especially salient in the United States, as citizens of many other countries pay lower prices for and have greater access to prescription medications. Methods: The American Thoracic Society convened a multidisciplinary committee comprising experts in health policy pharmacoeconomics, behavioral sciences, and clinical care, along with individuals providing industry and patient perspectives. The report and its recommendation were iteratively developed over a year of in-person, telephonic, and electronic deliberation. Results: The committee unanimously recommended the establishment of a publicly funded, politically independent, impartial entity to systematically draft evidence-based pharmaceutical policy recommendations. The goal of this entity would be to generate evidence and action steps to ensure people have equitable and affordable access to prescription medications, to maximize the value of public and private pharmaceutical expenditures on health, to support novel drug development within a market-based economy, and to preserve clinician and patient choice regarding personalized treatment. An immediate priority is to examine the evidence and make recommendations regarding the need to have essential medicines with established clinical benefit from each drug class in all Tier 1 formularies and propose recommendations to reduce barriers to timely generic drug availability. Conclusions: By making explicit, evidence-based recommendations, the entity can support the establishment of coherent national policies that expand access to affordable medications, improve the health of patients with chronic disease, and optimize the use of public and private resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1367-1374
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Medication affordability
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Prescriptions


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