Drug Costs: GOP Voters’ Top Concern, Earn $200 Honorarium Now, Inaugural Issue of Transparency Matters, Share Your NDPP Story…

August 25, 2015

“It may come down to ‘naming and shaming.’ We’ll report extremely high prices drug companies are charging and ask them to justify their actions publicly.”

Stephen Schondelmeyer. Pharm.D., PhD. (Senior advisor to The Action Group’s Specialty Pharmacy CDLN)

Weekly Buzz: Drug Costs Dislodge Obamacare as GOP Voters’ Top Health Care Concern

Nearly three-quarters of Americans think drug prices are too high – with most blaming it on drug companies’ drive for profits. And it holds true for Republicans, Democrats and independents, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll released Thursday. Further, there is growing evidence that even GOP voters are more concerned about curbing drug prices than gunning for Obamacare.

“It’s clear that drug companies have overreached and their pricing is not sustainable,” says Topher Spiro, the top health policy expert at the Center for American Progress, in this ABC News story.

The Action Group and its Care Delivery Learning Network (CDLN) participants have spent nearly a year exploring how the excessive cost of specialty drugs is affecting Minnesota purchasers, and what can be done to manage costs that one member described as, “crushing and unsustainable.” In a recent blog by Action Group president and CEO Carolyn Pare, she describes the CDLN work and offers five key drug management solutions for payers. Click here to see “Specialty Pharmacy Pricing: Will the Buck Ever Stop?” Action Group members have access to the Specialty Pharmacy Phase I Purchaser’s Guide by logging the Member Center from our homepage.


Natl-DPP-graphicDo you Have Experience With The NDPP? Share Your Story!

The Action Group is looking for members who are either planning to implement – or have already implemented – the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP), designed to help people with prediabetes avoid the onset of type 2 diabetes. We want to learn more about why you chose to adopt NDPP, and how you’re using (or plan to use) the program. We would also like you to discuss your NDPP experience during our September 24 member meeting.

Please contact Nayila Yaro with your NDPP story. Email: nyaro@mnhealthactiongroup.org, or phone 651-329-4019.


cf56bbd0-af94-4929-af76-e390d4a0d50fCompanies Reviewing Value on Investment to Assess Wellness Plans

Survey data show 64 percent of companies are using value-on-investment methodology when assessing their wellness plans, compared with 28 percent that are looking at return on investment, according to this new report. The value-on-investment method goes beyond financial results to include factors such as employee morale, productivity, absentee rates, and safety. At the next Action Group member meeting, we will be discussing this trend, along with how we are partnering with NDPP to bring the value of its programs to Minnesota employers. Click here to learn more about this meeting, or to register.


benfieldblk$200 Honorarium for Employers with 500+ Employees

Benfield-Gallagher is fielding a study of current and anticipated strategies employers are using to get better value for money spent on employee health and health benefits. They are looking for strategic benefits professionals, such as Action Group Members, to complete the research. The results will inform efforts to increase the impact of employer-driven initiatives to improve health and health care value.

For participation in this 30-minute online study, they are offering a summary of key findings, as well as a $200 honorarium, which you can keep or donate to charity. If you are interested, please click here and share your contact information. Within one business day of filling out this information, you will receive a personal link to the survey from cristin_callis@ajg.com. The deadline for completion is September 4.

Please note that, in accord with Action Group policy, Benfield-Gallagher is not allowed to retain, share or sell any contact information.


transparancy-mattersInaugural Issue of Transparency Matters

Every effort to improve care and cost requires transparency. In its inaugural issue of Transparency Matters, The Center for Healthcare Transparency asks: How can we reform payment if we don’t understand good performance? How can we improve quality if providers don’t have meaningful measures? How can we engage patients if we don’t give them information? The Center’s goal is to provide relative cost, quality and patient experience information to 50 percent of the U.S. population by 2020.

“At The Action Group we advocate for transparency in health care to foster collaboration and innovation between businesses, health plans, health care providers, and political leaders,” says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. “We have come a long way toward helping ensure that people receive the right care, at the right time, at the right price, and we will continue to strive for continuous improvement.”


Member Video ImageWondering How to Get More Involved With The Action Group? 

There are many opportunities for members to network and become involved with other Minnesota-based purchasers and within their communities. In addition to attending regular member meetings, public forums, and our Annual Leadership Summit, we encourage members to become involved at a level that fits their interests, experience and availability:

Not yet a member? Join us! Click here to learn more.


Did you Know?

Action Group members may post job openings in fyi and express at no cost. Simply email your request.

Help Wanted: State Employee Group Insurance Program (SEGIP) 

The State of Minnesota is seeking an assistant director for SEGIP, which serves over 120,000 people. The assistant director will help manage and coordinate daily operations of the Employee Insurance Division (EID), assist with developing and implementing EID goals and strategies, monitor program performance compared to goals, manage relationships with key EID contractors, and manage and coordinate intra-agency and external communications, to ensure that all State of Minnesota employees have access to high-quality, cost-effective group insurance and other related benefits. Click here and search for job number 15MMB000039 to apply or to learn more.


Thought for the Week

“To arbitrarily limit the price of drugs without regard to benefit or value would not be wise. More transparency is needed about how pharmaceutical companies price their products, and more research is needed to establish which drugs work best.”

Topher Spiro, Health policy expert at the Center for American Progress