Everyone should know that the costs of pharmaceutical medicines in America are out of control. I’ve used this example several times and it is nothing special, just what millions of Americans experience every time they go to the drug store. A friend found himself suddenly facing a needed life-altering drug that runs him over $1,900 a month.
While I don’t know any of the manufacturer’s arguments for that drug costing so much I can easily assume, and likely be correct, that a degree of excessive profiteering is somewhere in the formula.
To be honest, there is often a great difference between what the manufacturer sets as the price and what an insurance company actually pays. For example, the suggested retail price for a 90-day supply of an acid reflux drug is over $14,000. What the customer actually had to pay was $24. I don’t know how this is explained but I’ll bet the farm that somewhere between those two numbers there are lots of people and medical care providers who are charging more than $24. Someplace in this thick jungle of pricing can be found some of the answers to why American health care is the world’s most expensive.
NBC Nightly News just reported another pricing scheme that’s driving up the costs and fattening the pockets of big pharma. It’s the practice of combining two low-cost and readily available drugs, giving them a fancy-schmancy new name, and jacking the price into the stratosphere. One example provided by NBC centered on Merck’s drug Fosamax Plus D. The drug is made by combining the generic components of Alendronate and vitamin D3. The actual cost of this new pill is $1.25 but Merck is suggesting the cost be $39.05 per pill.
Another example is Zegerid, made by Bausch Health Companies. It is intended for treating acid reflux and the combined ingredients are the over the counter drug Prilosec and common baking soda. The ingredients cost .47 cents and Bausch is suggesting the new pill cost $86.29.
None of the companies involved agreed to speak with NBC and it was noted that both doctors and patients are often unaware of what big pharma is doing.
It is drastically important to know that under current law Medicare Part D, the federal government cannot negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical manufacturers. So when politicians want to rant about the high cost and instability of Medicare, remind them that their refusal to change the law is directly at fault.
For the complete NBC story, click HERE.