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Rather than lower prices, drugmakers find new ways for people to pay for their expensive drugs

prescription drug costs are too highThe rising cost of prescription drugs is making it harder for the average consumer to afford them. In response, drugmakers are now experimenting with new ways to get paid for their most expensive medicines.

The Wall Street Journal reports that pharmaceutical companies are considering installment plans, subscriptions, and even more complex “value-based” contracts based on the effectiveness of the drug per patient

Value-based contracting is “a great lever to pull, but it’s just one more tool in our toolbox,” Steve Miller chief clinical officer for insurer Cigna Corp, told the newspaper. “It’s definitely not going to revolutionize the system to make it more affordable.”

Sanofi is offering a $99-a-month subscription for insulin. Novartis is giving insurers the opportunity to pay over five years for its gene therapy, the most expensive drug in the world at $2.1 million. These experimental solutions are in part responses to increasing calls for relief as six-figure price tags grow increasingly common.

Drugmakers “understand that if they come to the market with super-high-cost drugs and aren’t willing to share the risk, then they are going to face pushback and access challenges,” said Michael Sherman, chief medical officer of insurer Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

What do you think? Should drugmakers find new ways to pay for their expensive drugs, or lower their prices? Let us know at Voices for Affordable Health.