Interview: David Mitchell of Patients For Affordable Drugs

In the latest edition of our Deep Dive magazine – Deep Dive: Patient Centricity II – David Mitchell, President of Patients For Affordable Drugs, speaks to pharmaphorum’s Andrew McConaghie about why the organisation was set up and why its campaigning work is so important for patients.

As its name suggests, Patients For Affordable Drugs is focused on just one subject – the high cost of prescription medicines in the US – which has become an inescapable controversy for the nation with the highest drugs prices in the world.

In his State of the Union address in January 2018 President Donald Trump presented his own strong views on drug prices: “One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. And in other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States and it’s very, very unfair. That is why I have directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of my top priorities for the year. And prices will come down substantially – watch!”

There’s no doubt that the cost of health insurance and, in particular, the out-of-pocket costs Americans must pay for prescription medicines, is one of the biggest issues in the US today. That’s because prescription drug spending per capita is far higher in the US than any other comparable country.

The result is that, by 2015, US spending on pharmaceuticals exceeded $1,000 per person and was between 30% and 190% higher than nine European countries in the Commonwealth Fund Study. Deutsche Bank estimates that between 2013 and 2015 the cost of drugs was rising by more than 20% a year. These rises have now moderated, but prices still went up 7.2% last year, far above the rate of inflation.

Against this background, David Mitchell set up Patients for Affordable Drugs, the first, and only, not-for-profit US patient organisation to focus solely on the issue of medicines prices. And, while the US drugs system is a complex and secretive one, including pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and health insurance, as well as pharma companies, it’s the latter that are seen as the villains of the piece by the American public.

Read the full interview here.

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Read the full Deep Dive: Patient Centricity II magazine here.

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Next edition is Deep Dive: Future Pharma II – publishing in May. Contact Adam to get involved: