How Soaring Prescription Drug Prices Are Affecting Patient Health Care
Prescription medication make up 10% of the country’s spending in terms of health care in the US, but this percentage is seen to rise, as most drug prices continue to increase. This is especially true for newly developed drugs that treat very serious conditions like cancer and hepatitis C.
In most cases, taxpayers and insured patients who do not really make the use of their health insurance bear the brunt of these expenses. On the other hand, a huge part of the population of people also suffer from because of this problem, as the cost of drugs hinder them from buying and taking their prescription.
Whether you’re a healthy individual who does not need maintenance medication, or suffering from a condition and having a hard time filling out your prescription, you may be wondering: what is being done about all of this?
In Canada for example, they have a system that allows for the evaluation of prices of drugs, both existing ones and those that just come into the market. For new drugs, a group reviews them first and looks at the price – if they see it as too excessive, given the value it provides to consumers, the group negotiates with the pharmaceutical company. This is what keeps their prices lower in their country in comparison to the United States.
While you can purchase drugs in Canada occasionally, there is no such thing as free trade between both countries – so no pharmacy in the country can buy in bulk in Canada and ship it to the US and sell the medication for a lower price. Some European countries also regulate the price or the profits that pharmaceutical companies make from certain drugs, ensuring stability in prices.
That said, some consumers cross the border or order online from Canada and other countries, because their medication – while the same as we have – is cheaper. Unfortunately this practice lies in the gray area in terms of legalities
While the FDA does a good job of reviewing drugs that come out in the market, they still do not have this mechanism to control and place value on them, hence the drugs still come out in the market at a much higher price than in other countries that enforce evaluation and control. On top of that, it’s also important for them to demand transparency in the costing and distribution of drugs. It’s only with transparency and disclosure are we able to rally for cheaper medication to be made available for people in the country.