Big Pharm has had a good year. Not that you can measure happiness on a scale from 1-10, but if you could, Big Pharm would say they are 84 billion…dollars that is. That’s the profit that the drug companies tallied for last year, but Americans know that, they can feel the hit in their wallets. Drug prices continue to soar, increasing about 20xs the amount that it costs to produce the drugs we take. One of the major problems is that Medicare is forbidden to negotiate directly with the companies, allowing the drug companies to set the cost.
With name brand and generic becoming increasing more expensive, many are left trying to cover the cost.
“The United States’ per capita drug spending is about 40 percent higher than in Canada’s, 75 percent higher than in Japan’s, and nearly three times higher than Denmark’s.”
It might seem reasonable to suspect that much of these profits may go into things like research or drug development, especially as we grow dangerously close to an antibiotic resistance crisis, and see a new disease pop up every six months. The concern is that the companies tend to pull funding from these areas, as it is not as cost inducing as advertisements. Companies must advertise, that is just reality, but the result is that we are falling far behind advances within the pharmaceutical field. A practice that could end up costing lives. In the meantime, costs go up, insurances can’t cover all of it, and medical diagnosis means money woes.
*For those who cannot afford your medications, talk to your local pharmacist. Many companies can give medications away for those in severe financial difficulty. In addition, many pharmaceutical companies have discount programs for those who meet eligibility. You can see if your medications might have such a program by simply looking them up online along with the words ‘co-pay assistance or ‘medication assistance’. Information might also be available on the manufacturers website.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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