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International Pricing Index is NOT an Answer to Health Care Costs

February 3, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) has released the following statement on the proposed international pricing index:

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease opposes proposed “international pricing index” models to address drug pricing. While we support efforts that make quality care and treatments more accessible to the people who need them, we believe these goals can be achieved without compromising innovation or importing discriminatory pricing schemes from other nations. Quite simply, there are more effective ways to manage health care costs.
Any appeal of proposals to lower drug costs by relying upon international pricing indices evaporates with a close look at the serious flaws and dangers posed. 
Price control schemes deployed in other nations rely upon discriminatory assumptions that consider people living with disabilities, older people, and people living with serious chronic conditions as having less value.  These countries use a quality-adjusted life year (QALY) in pricing schemes, the history of which the National Council on Disability recently “found sufficient evidence of QALYs being discriminatory (or potentially discriminatory) to warrant concern. . . “[1]  In drawing this conclusion, the National Council on Disability noted:
The coverage denials and loss of access to care faced by people with disabilities in these countries illustrate what might happen if the United State made a similar choice.
The United States has a strong history of protecting and supporting the rights of vulnerable and underserved populations and must reject undermining those efforts.  There are better ways to address health care costs without harming patients or our ability to advance medical innovation.
The recent news about higher cancer survival rates in the U.S. shows the way forward.  Those improvements were achieved by a combination of lower smoking rates (prevention), early detection (awareness and access), and better treatments (innovation).  Investing in health care opportunities that promote prevention of disease onset and progression, empower people through awareness and greater access to recommended, and coordinated care, and continued progress on innovative treatments is the solution.
The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease.


[1]Quality-Adjusted Life Years and the Devaluation of Life with Disability (2019), available online at