“The one that really blew my mind was the nasal spray,” said Robin Levi, Hannah and Abby’s mother, referring to her $80 co-payment for Rhinocort Aqua, a prescription drug that was selling for more than $250 a month in Oakland pharmacies last year but costs under $7 in Europe, where it is available over the counter. “
We spend far more per capita on medicines than other developed countries even though it is reported that we take fewer prescription medicines than people in other countries. Drugs account for 10 percent of the country’s $2.7 trillion annual health bill, said Gerard Anderson, who studies medical pricing at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.
In other countries the price of drugs are controlled. We kid ourselves that we have a competitive free market. How can you have competition when only one company makes the drug? We are not talking about the new “break the bank cancer drugs;” we are talking about common drugs that have been around for decades.
The article reports that they even pay generic drug manufactures to not produce a cheaper version in a plan labeled “Pay for Delay.” How do they manage to do this?
It is reported that $250 million last year was spent on lobbying for pharmaceutical and health products — more than even the defense industry — the government allows such practices because our politicians vote the way their campaign contributors pay them to. Lawmakers in Washington have forbidden Medicare, the largest government purchaser of health care, to negotiate drug prices. Unlike its counterparts in other countries, the United States Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, which evaluates treatments for coverage by federal programs, is not allowed to consider cost comparisons or cost-effectiveness in its recommendations. And importation of prescription medicines from abroad is illegal, even personal purchases from mail-order pharmacies. They charge what they want to pay their bonuses and perks for their top executives.