Vol. 40, No. 1 January 2021
Consideration Of Value-Based Pricing For Treatments And Vaccines Is Important, Even In The COVID-19 Pandemic
Peter J. Neumann, Joshua T. Cohen, David D. Kim, and Daniel A. Ollendorf
Prices send signals about consumer preferences and thus stimulate producers to make more of what people want. Pricing in a pandemic is complicated and fraught. The policy puzzle involves balancing lower prices to ensure access to essential medications, vaccines, and tests against the need for adequate revenue streams to provide manufacturers with incentives to make the substantial, risky investments needed to develop products in the first place. We review alternative pricing strategies (cost recovery models, monetary prizes, and advance market commitments) for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics. Hybrid pricing strategies are undoubtedly needed in a pandemic, but even in a public health crisis, value-based pricing is important. Cost-effectiveness analyses can inform pricing. Ideally, analyses would be conducted from both a health system and a societal perspective. Incorporating the added value of social benefits into cost-effectiveness analyses does not mean that manufacturers should capture the entire societal benefit of a diagnostic, vaccine, or therapy. Such analyses can provide important information and help policy makers consider the full costs and benefits of products and the wide-ranging ramifications of their actions.