Bloomberg’s Max Nisen: CVS Should Use ICER Pricing to Exclude Drugs for Sickest Patients

  • by: Robert Goldberg |
  • 08/21/2018
Bloomberg opinion writer Max Nisen believes that CVS should use ICER’s drug pricing recommendations to exclude 
breakthrough drugs, including those for orphan diseases. Would he want his wife or daughter 
to have their access limited by CVS and Aetna (who is being acquired by CVS)? 

 He may not know that ICER is funded by CVS. He may not know that ICER never talks about 
sharing the increased rebates or fees that CVS would pocket if their lower prices are used. He 
may not know that even with the price cuts he thinks ICER should set, patients will still pay 
retail or be forced to try other treatments. He may not know that breakthroughs are 
breakthroughs because they are first in class. And he may not know that the step therapy or 
exclusions ICER also recommends are also based on containing costs, not increasing 
affordability. And he may not know that limiting access to drugs to generate rebates and fees 
comes at the expense of the sickest 2 percent of patients or that limiting access to drugs 
considered by ICER as cost effective is associated with worse outcomes and more spending 

But now he knows and now he should ask himself if G-d forbid he, his wife or children had their 
access to treatment denied by CVS and ICER would he embrace it. If he does, that͛s fine. But 
leave me and everyone else out of an approach that in my opinion violates the spirit of 
Nuremberg code on human experimentation. 

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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