Medical experts in the US have called for value-based pricing to curb ‘outrageous’ drug costs that are 'bankrupting' patients.

Speakers at the Drug Pricing: Public Health Implications panel, presented by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Reuters, were in favour of stepping away from the country’s current system, where pharma companies can set any price they choose.

Dr Lowell Schnipper, chairman of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Value in Cancer Care Task Force, suggested that patients could only pay for drugs when they work, and that there should be a systematic way to determine the value of costly cancer drugs for patients.

"I'm appalled at how many Americans are going into bankruptcy because of outrageous costs," he said.

However, he also emphasised the importance of incentivising pharma research.

"As a doctor who treats patients I want new drugs. Some of these are nothing short of miraculous. We need to reward innovation in some way."

Steven Pearson, president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), an independent non-profit group that evaluates clinical and cost effectiveness of drugs, added: "Americans at the same time are getting tremendously ripped off with drugs and also getting tremendous value and we almost never know when we're getting ripped off and when we're getting real value and that has to change.”