Wednesday, September 30, 2015

COTW: Inhumane Drug Prices

No wonder 'Mericans are angered by prescription drug prices.  This table compares US prices with four other developed countries that have socialized medicine:

In every case US prices are considerably higher. Similar price differentials exist for common diagnostic and surgery procedures. Former hedge fund head Martin Shkreli hiked the price of Enbrel, used to treat AIDs cases and toxoplasmosis, 5500% overnight. Daraprim (generic name) cost about $1 per pill to make and has been in the pharmacopia for sixty years. When Shkreli acquired the drug the price for a bottle when from $405 to $22,500. Other examples of price gouging are those by Valeant Pharmaceuticals which increased the price for two heart drugs, 515% and 212% the same day they were acquired.  An antibiotic, Doxycyclene, was increased in price from $20 to $1849 within a six month period, but the real story is that drug prices have going up rapidly for the past 10 years despite passage of the Affordable Care Act. Cash buyers in the US face the highest prices of all, often these are the poorest citizens without drug coverage. The federal institutional buyers such as the Veterans Administration and the Defense Department pay the lowest prices in the country at 58% of the cash price. Other instituional buyers such as hospitals, Medicare Part D and HMOs pay 5-30% less. Once again the economic leverage exerted by a single payer is demonstrated in these statistics. So US Person says one more time: Medicare for All!