The Open Formulary Movement
From The Democratization of Health Care Series
Posted October 12, 2012 | Updated December 12, 2012
By Gary A. Puckrein
Published on the Huffington Post
The open formulary movement is a call for the elimination of all prescription drug formularies. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) sets the stage for the movement. Under the law, 30 million Americans who were previously uninsured will now have access to continuous health care. Our analysis of data from the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System and the U.S. Census indicate that 43 percent of these newly insured Americans will be minorities. Formularies are inherently discriminatory and anti-consumer. They ignore medical need, ability to pay, genetic variability, culture and gender.
Our health care financing and delivery system needs a redesign before it can provide optimal care to a diverse consumer base. Health care is an ecosystem: Insurance, discovery, product manufacturing, care delivery, regulation, consumer demand, and reimbursement are all essential components. What should drive the system is consumer demand, not government regulation, insurance practices, or the profits of product and service providers. As providers and suppliers react to consumer demand, quality, product selections (including prescription drugs), distribution networks and prices should be informed by that demand to the advantage of consumers. Government’s principle role should be consumer protection (safety, efficacy, insurance regulation, transparency, and conservation of consumer choice) and market encouragement to produce effective therapies to address unmet medical needs.