To the editor:

I appreciate responding to your Oct. 9 editorial, which discussed the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s prescription drug pricing report.

ICER receives funding from health insurers. On its website, ICER says it has received money from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the National Institute for Health Care Management, whose board of directors includes several insurers.

Health care costs have increased, but it is rising out-of-pocket insurance costs that are ailing Americans.

The average cost of employer-provided family health insurance is a record $20,576. Family premiums have risen 54% over the last decade.

Meanwhile, according to Altarum, “We have seen incredibly low growth in prescription drug prices since July 2018, and the 12-month moving average now stands at -0.5% — a 47-year low.”

ICER, the insurance industry’s mouthpiece, ignores these facts.

ICER also gets money from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, a billionaire couple who are “pumping money into the drug-pricing debate.”

The Arnolds have spent more than $100 million on health care-related grants. He also is invested in a hospital-run organization that is trying to manufacture generic drugs.

Clearly, Arnold funding comes with a specific point of view.

Also, ICER’s methodology for determining drugs' "value" has come under scrutiny. In fact, the group recently retracted a report about rheumatoid arthritis treatments because it questioned its own methodology.

No American should have to struggle to pay for medicine, but if we want to increase access to care, we must first get the facts straight.

Patrick O'Connor

Executive Director, Alliance to Protect Medical Innovation

Washington, D.C.

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