Bad Medicine

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Big pharma, Economy, Health care
Tags: , ,

One of the big myths from Big Pharma is that it takes a billion dollars and 10 years of research for a drug. The reality is that MOST of that money, around 84%, comes from the U.S. taxpayer in the form of research grants.

Americans pay a premium of about 67% for prescription drugs compared to residents of the rest of the world. No other country in the world pays as much as the U.S. Yet you would think, in a true free market prices would come down over time, well i am sorry to inform you dear reader, that free market has nothing to do with it. Nope, our government is involved in setting the price you and I pay, thanks to the patent system that allows drug companies to monopolize drugs they produce, and to extend their monopolies almost permanently.

You see, patents make it illegal for a competitor to sell the same product for a certain amount of time. The longer they can extend the patent, the more money in their pocket.

Eventually generics take over, and the more generics created, the less money goes to the brand name. This causes pharma companies to retest the same drug for other uses in order to lengthen the exclusivity period. Basically tweaking the original formula to create a “new” version so they can jack up the price. This is called “evergreening”.

Other ways they rip of consumers is by setting prices higher in huge, unregulated U.S. markets than in nations with price controls. They charge individuals the steepest price, big purchasers the smallest. Even the way doctors are reimbursed for cancer drugs gives them incentive to prescribe the most expensive treatments. The drugs are usually given intravenously in hospital, or doctors offices, and Medicare pays doctors for the cost of the drug plus a small extra fee to help cover their overhead. The higher the price for drugs, the greater the fee.

As i have said in an earlier post, i got a friend that has to pay large sums of money in the hopes that he can extend his life by a few months/years. I am making it a personal mission to find out why this is happening and to raise awareness about such issues in hopes of fighting corporate monopolies that do no one any good.


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