Health Affairs has released the final set in a series of peer-reviewed health policy briefs on key issues currently shaping the prescription drug market. This third set of briefs looks at key factors that explain the many issues determining consumer out-of-pocket spending and contribute to the confusion between list prices and net prices. They are:

The 340B Drug Discount Program

The 340B drug discount program mandates the sale of outpatient prescription drugs to safety-net providers at reduced rates.

Patient Financial Support

Manufacturer-sponsored financial support helps patients afford medicines but may thwart payers’ efforts to use preferred drugs.


Formularies are tools used by purchasers to limit drug coverage based on favorable clinical performance and relative costs.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers

On behalf of payers, pharmacy benefit managers negotiate rebates from drug makers in exchange for preferred formulary placement.

These briefs are the result of a collaborative effort aimed at providing policy makers the tools they need to approach these issues, armed with concrete evidence and the latest research.  A longer overview of the series can be found in a recent post on Health Affairs Blog.

Health Policy Briefs are produced under a partnership of Health Affairs with the generous support of The Commonwealth Fund and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.