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Cost of drugs

Discussion in 'Health' started by Wag more, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. Wag more

    Wag more Member

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    I have worked in pharmacies for 8 years and the price of drugs is hard for me to get my mind around. Some are dirt cheap and others are through the roof in cost.
    Furosemide is a generic and costs about $5 for a bottle of 1000 tabs. Less than 1 cent a pill. Alendronate costs less than a dollar for a pack of 4. Loratadine costs about $5 for a bottle of 300.
    And then there is Viagara at $36 per pill. And Cialis about the same. And that new stuff Harvoni for Hepatitis is an incredible $31,000 for 30 tabs.
    Furosemide is less than a penny a pill and Harvoni is over $1000 a pill.
    3 years ago EpiPens were about $350 for a 2 pack. Today they are around $650. The CEO promised a less expensive generic and today we have that generic, epenephrine, in a 2 pack for about $350. Even with a generic the price stayed the same.
    Health costs in this country are inflating more rapidly than just about any other commodity.
    Any of you HOP'ers out there got any sane thoughts how to rein in drug prices without turning us into Cuba?
     
  2. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

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    It's a complex matter that government has created. You want the product protection FDA can provide but the costs are unmanagable. The international agreements are a mess, start there.
     
  3. Wag more

    Wag more Member

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    A new drug comes with an exclusive patent for a number of years. After the patent expires anyone can manufacture the drug as a generic. Same drug just a different name. Usually the price of a generic is a small fraction of the cost of the name brand even though the active ingredients may be identical.
    Viagara costs the pharmacy $36/pill. Generic Viagara, sildenafil, costs $0.19/pill.
    Fortamet costs the pharmacy $1500 for a bottle of 60. Generic metformin costs maybe $0.25/pill.
    Stribild costs $2600/ bottle of 30. Generic hiv/aids meds can cost less than a buck a pill.
    But the price of Epenephrine didn't go down when it went generic: the price of the name brand went up. Going generic usually lowers the cost considerably but if I remember right a patent is for 17 years.
    I appreciate the costs a company must incur to develop a new drug, test it and get FDA approval. But Europe gets new drugs to market quicker than we do. And that means they could shorten the patent time by a few years and get generics available sooner.
     
  4. Wag more

    Wag more Member

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    My proposal to lower drug costs:
    1. Adopt a European style FDA and get new drugs to market a few years sooner than we do now.
    2. Lower the number of years the developer of the drug has exclusive rights of sale.
    3. Make safe drugs which now require prescriptions over the counter. You save a bundle without having to see a doc.
    Claritin used to require a doctor's script. Now it is over the counter. Saves at least $75 cuz no need to see a doc.

    The Dems in congress don't really seem to be interested in lowering medical costs. Their focus seems to be on getting someone else to pay. Probably cuz their campaign coffers are lined by Pfizer and Teva and other drug companies.
     
  5. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

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    And AMA.
    By the way pharma likes OTC. That claratin is expensive but the generic is better.
     
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