Updated Oct 18, 2022 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on health care innovation and costs

On Tuesday, October 18th, Axios health care editor Tina Reed and managing editor Alison Snyder led conversations exploring topics around health care innovation and cost, such as broadening access to care, drug pricing and biosimilars development and adoption. Guests included former deputy secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan and Harvard Medical School professor of health care policy and medicine Dr. Ateev Mehrotra.

Eric Hargan discussed how innovations in telehealth and vaccine development over the last two years yielded improvements in American medicine and what needs to be done to address high health care costs in America. 

  • On pandemic-era innovations in telehealth and Operation Warp Speed: “So you see things like the telehealth explosion that happened, innovations in digital health, huge improvements and I think permanent ones in American medicine that happened because of that. And then obviously, centrally, the innovations that came out of Operation Warp Speed, both in terms of the vaccine and on the therapeutics side, and I think on the therapeutics side, certainly I don’t think we’ve even seen the end of the benefits that came from the efforts that were made at that time in the research community and the medical community generally.”
  • On reducing the cost of care: “I would say the general statement that we have to bring costs down generally or start chopping things away, we have to approach it pretty thoughtfully to make sure that people don’t lose access to care that they need in the system and that they don’t lose what we’ve been accustomed to in the U.S. in terms of quick access to excellent medical care.” 

Dr. Ateev Mehrotra described why health care today is costing Americans so much and the impact the Inflation Reduction Act’s drug pricing provisions could have on costs. 

  • On the complexity of today’s health care system: “I think the average American understandably is just frustrated, and I think fully agree with, an overly complex health care system that has way too much administrative costs. And again, emphasizing the high level of complexity, it’s almost impossible to navigate for many patients.”
  • On the Inflation Reduction Act and negotiating drug prices: “I view this as the first step, but not the full journey that we need to get to in terms of reducing drug prices. After decades of debate about the topic of medicare negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies, it starts to move that forward with a small number of drugs, and I think that that will be helpful to some degree. I don’t expect it to have a major impact, but I do think that at least starts to open that door…”

In the View from the Top segment, Amgen VP and head of U.S. value and access Jen Norton highlighted which medical fields and markets biosimilars have impacted the most. 

  • “We’ve seen biosimilars launched in a variety of disease states, oncology being a major area as well as respiratory, autoimmune, diabetes and even more. If you look at the trajectory of biosimilars over the last six years, in those first years prior to 2019, the average market share of biosimilars after three years was at 39%. Whereas if you look at the most recent three years, it’s actually 75%. So the momentum is most definitely building, and in fact, it’s actually growing faster in the U.S. at this point than what we saw in the same time period in the EU.”

Thank you Amgen for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper