Abstract

In recent years, drug manufacturers and private payers have expressed interest in novel pricing models that more closely link a drug's price to its value. Indication-based pricing, outcome-based pricing, drug licenses, and drug mortgages have all been discussed as alternatives to paying strictly for volume. Manufacturers and payers have complained, however, that Medicaid's “best-price rule” inhibits their ability to enter into these new pricing arrangements. This article examines the best-price rule and assesses to what extent, if any, it might frustrate the goal of paying for value. We conclude that the best-price rule is not as serious a problem as it is sometimes made out to be but that it is also not simply a convenient excuse for refusing to try something new. The law here is complex, and moving to a pay-for-value model for drugs will require close coordination among manufacturers, payers, and regulators.