Employee Benefits

You can’t handle the truth 💊💉 about prescription drugs

Pure Paul Krugman logic:

“It’s true that simply granting Medicare the right to negotiate prices wouldn’t do much by itself. We’d also have to give Medicare some bargaining power, probably including the right to refuse to cover drugs whose prices are exorbitant. And before you denounce this as “rationing,” remember that before 2003, Medicare didn’t pay for drugs at all.” NYTs 5-15-18

I suppose we could just do away with Medicare Part D too. But Krugman is right, simply negotiating prices doesn’t do much mainly because the PBMs operating Part D already negotiate.

Once again we need to tell Americans the truth. You can’t have anything and everything and then complain about it’s cost. That is especially true for health care. As I have said numerous times; more is not always better, higher cost does not automatically equal higher quality and when it comes to drugs, very marginal incremental additional value probably is not affordable.

Read the fine print on TV ads for new drugs (if you can), you will see many offer very little advantage over existing medication. Sometimes a drug is modified slightly for a different application merely to extent a patent. Raising the price of an existing drug should be questioned. For example, a new drug is given a monopoly for twenty- years. It takes several years to recoup developmental costs (it takes about eight years to get a (successful) drug to market. Once the initial price is determined to give a fair return over the 20-year period, where is the justification for much higher prices thereafter beyond covering increasing production costs?

One thing we don’t want to do is inhibit or discourage innovation and risk taking. We do want to encourage the development of new and more effective drugs that in turn will save lives, improve lives and lower health care costs.

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1 reply »

  1. I would sure like to be given the chance to see if I could handle the truth. I am a big boy.

    I would like to know exactly what the cost of my drugs are. I keep reading how in some cases it is cheaper to pay cash for some prescription drugs than to pay the co-pay at the insurance company pricing. Healthcare in general has too many secret backroom pricing deals. I do believe that hospitals and drug companies list pricing is outrageous so that they have room to negotiate. The ones who don’t have insurance are the ones who suffer by paying full price and also the taxpayers when the hospitals write off the uncollected over price debt.

    I also would like to know how the money flows between all parties. Does my doctor prescribe a drug because he went to a drug company training class some at some nice resort? Did a pharmacy promise to push more of one pill (or preferred drug) versus another for a price cut? I am okay with that, it is good business. But as a consumer, I can’t make an informed choice without all the facts.

    I don’t always buy the cheapest item on Amazon for various reasons, but I also like to know if I am getting ripped off.

    Like

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