JAMA – November 22, 2016, Vol 316, No. 20, Pages 2059-2162

November 22, 2016, Vol 316, No. 20, Pages 2059-2162

Pharmaceuticals and Public Health
Rena M. Conti, PhD; Rebekah E. Gee, MD; Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD
JAMA. 2016;316(20):2083-2084. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.15397
This Viewpoint argues for a shift in pharmaceutical pricing from an individual- to a population-based perspective and proposes policy options to incentivize pricing that would make treating populations with disease sustainable.
The national debate over increasing costs and spending for pharmaceuticals has reached a fever pitch. Special concern has focused on new “specialty” drugs, for which per-patient treatment costs often exceed $1000 per month or more than $10 000 for a course of a therapy. The most commonly discussed solutions include approaches to pricing these drugs based on their value to individual patients.1 However, for pharmaceuticals vital to public health, such as immunizations and drugs to treat communicable diseases, policy makers should broaden their perspective to consider the population as a whole.


Research Letter
Infectious Disease Mortality Trends in the United States, 1980-2014
Victoria Hansen, MS; Eyal Oren, PhD; Leslie K. Dennis, PhD; et al.
JAMA. 2016;316(20):2149-2151. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.12423
This study uses data from the US National Office of Vital Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention WONDER database to characterize trends in infectious disease mortality from 1980 through 2014.
From 1900 through 1996, mortality from infectious diseases declined in the United States, except for a 1918 spike due to the Spanish flu pandemic.1 Since 1996, major changes in infectious diseases have occurred, such as the introduction of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS and West Nile virus into the United States, advances in HIV/AIDS treatment, changes in vaccine perceptions, and increased concern over drug-resistant pathogens. We investigated trends in infectious disease mortality from 1980 through 2014 to capture these changes.