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Healthcare executives cite rising drug prices, pharmaceutical shortages as top issues, survey finds

Nearly every C-suite respondent to Premier's 2015 Economic Outlook said pharmaceutical price increases are their top area of concern.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Healthcare providers consider the rising cost of pharmaceuticals and ongoing drug shortages among their most pressing challenges, according to a recent survey published by healthcare alliance Premier.

Nearly every C-suite respondent to its 2015 Economic Outlook said pharmaceutical price increases are their top area of concern, followed by drug shortages. Ninety-five percent of respondents said the shortages will continue to be a problem for at least the next three years.

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The survey was conducted online this summer, with responses from CEOs, CFOs and COOs from 55 health systems nationwide. Premier, in Charlotte, North Carolina, conducts the biannual survey of economic and industry trends.

A 2014 analysis found that drug shortages increased U.S. hospital costs by an average of $230 million annually, according to Premier, which has been lobbying against skyrocketing drug pricing.

Its industry trade association, the Healthcare Supply Chain Association, sent two letters to Congress and the FDA earlier this month asking for a process to assess the cost-effectiveness of drugs, and for ways to speed up the approval process backlog that is blocking new generic entrants into the market, according to Premier's COO Michael J. Alkire.

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"A potential solution to rising drug costs being considered is for manufacturers to replace their fee-for-service contracts with those that reward how well their products work," Alkire said in a statement. "Another challenge is the lack of cross-continuum clinical data, so the ability to effectively track drug performance is limited."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse