For decades, physicians largely avoided the topic of drug pricing, and they were happy to leave that unsavory business to the drugmakers and insurers to haggle over. But in more recent years, with rising drug costs and a realization that financial toxicity can be a truly harmful side effect for patients, doctors have begun speaking up. In 2012, oncologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering famously threatened to walk away from the cancer treatment Zaltrap because its price outweighed its benefit, and the drugmaker responded by cutting Zaltrap’s price in half. And even more recently, doctors have become increasingly outspoken around the price of treatments for a broad range of diseases — including hepatitis C, cystic fibrosis, and high cholesterol (drugs that all have attracted ICER’s attention, as well).
With this backdrop, the American Medical Association just adopted a new policy to encourage medical schools to incorporate additional training on health economics into their curricula. By helping physicians provide more cost-effective care, the AMA is hoping to improve outcomes for both patients and the health system.
And who knows? Maybe some of these new doctors will come work at ICER one day. If you hadn’t heard, we’re hiring.