The Rising Cost of Prescription Drugs
Drug Costs on the
If you’re like many Americans, the rising cost of prescription drugs may
be costing you your health. In particular, seniors living on a fixed
income with no insurance are finding it difficult to pay for necessary
prescriptions out-of-pocket, and as a result, may be failing to receive
the treatment they need to stay healthy. Often, the struggle can put a
big strain on seniors’ finances.
But why are prescription drug prices so high, especially when most
people who require medication are usually not in a financial position
that allows them to afford the full price tag? The real reasons are more
complicated than what you might suspect, but one thing’s for certain
drug prices have been skyrocketing.
The reason that is most often touted (by the drug companies, of course)
for the high price of drugs is research and development (R&D) costs. The
drug companies contest that the only way to pay for the development of
new life-saving drugs - that will improve the lives of millions of
Americans is through profits from current drug sales. The high prices,
they say, are merely a reflection of the spending that is necessary for
the creation of newer, better drugs.
But is this the truth? Are drug companies using a large percentage of
current prescription drug sales to fund R&D? If so, are the new drugs
under development truly going to improve the health of the people who
need them most? Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be the case.
In reality, drug companies spend more on advertising, lobbying and
political contributions than they do on research and development. Most
of the money you pay for prescription medication ends up in the pockets
of marketers and politicians, so that you can be convinced that you need
the “newer” and “better” drugs that are under development.
In addition, research and development tends to focus on more
“marketable” types of drugs that the drug companies can sell to the
largest amounts of people. How many times have you seen advertisements
for a drug that can help alleviate such serious medical conditions as
social anxiety disorder and seasonal allergies? Unfortunately, this
means that most large drug companies tend to neglect the development of
life-saving drugs for more serious conditions, as the numbers are not
there to rake in high profits.
Developing new allergy or anxiety drugs, however, does not require
massive amounts of money, as these drugs have already been developed.
Neither does rehashing previously developed drugs to be marketed for a
new ailment. Usually the newer drugs under “development” aren’t new at
all. So even the money that is spent on R&D, it can be argued, is an
unnecessary expense driven by the market more than by the country’s
Unfortunately for the consumer, all the money spent on advertising
rather than development, and providing drug information to physicians
about specific new drugs that need to be marketed, makes it very likely
that you will end up paying more money than you should. Also, because
your doctor is only provided with information on the latest and
“greatest” drugs, he/she will be more likely to prescribe you the more
expensive drugs. Perhaps surprisingly, there are older versions of drugs
on the market that work just as well as their updated counterparts
(sometimes better) as well as generic versions of brand name drugs that
come at a significantly reduced cost. Of course, the drug companies do
not market these drugs and do all they can to keep generic drugs off the
shelves for as long as possible.
That’s another place your money goes when you buy prescription drugs
lawyers. Drug companies spend a lot of money paying for court cases to
extend the patents of certain drugs. Even though the cases are often
lost in the end, court processes can take months to resolve buying
more time for the drug companies to be the sole profiteers of a
particular drug. When the patent on a drug runs out, other companies are
allowed to create and sell a generic version of the drug. It is usually
sold for a lower price, which takes customers away from the brand name
and reduces that drug company’s profits. In the end, patents are often
extended anyway because the drug company finds a new application for the
drug, thus artificially extending the life of the patent and keeping
generics off the shelves. You end up paying more because a less
expensive generic alternative is not available and you are forced to
shell out for the higher priced brand name drug instead.
For the lucky people who have insurance that covers the cost of their
drugs, this may be indirectly allowing the drug companies to charge more
than they would if everyone had to pay full price. Because many people
never see the true cost of their prescriptions, the price is not
something they worry about. As a result, drug companies feel freer to
raise prices and costs continue to rise. The bottom line? A large
percentage of what you pay for drugs is taken as profit.
What Can You Do To Lower Your Drug Costs?
Understanding why drug costs are so high, you may feel that it is
impossible to find a way to reduce them. But this simply isn’t true.
There are several things you can do to make prescription drugs more
As mentioned briefly above, it pays (literally) to be informed. If your
doctor doesn’t possess the knowledge regarding all the drug choices
available for your condition, take initiative and conduct some of your
own research. Ask your doctor if there are any older versions of the
newest drug you’ve been prescribed and find out if the drug is as
effective. If it can do the job just as well as its newer relation, and
comes with a cheaper price tag, it won’t take you long to make a
Secondly, find out if there are any generic versions of the drug you
need available in your area. Generic drugs are the same drug but without
the brand name price tag. This type of drug is similar to the no-name
brands you find in your local grocery store. The product is exactly the
same but less expensive because you’re not paying for the name (and
hence the advertising).
If you are uninsured or underinsured, make sure you exhaust all your
insurance options. Calculate the costs associated with purchasing an
insurance plan and determine whether or not you can find a plan that
will ultimately weigh in your favor. Also, find out if you can benefit
from Medicare. Medicare Part D is one option you should research,
although for many Americans it has actually made prescription drugs more
expensive and seems to have been created to benefit the drug companies
rather than the American public. The process can be confusing, but if
you take the time to find out if you are one of the lucky few to
benefit, it could be worth your while.
Finally, many Americans have chosen to order discount drugs online, from
either American or Canadian pharmacies. American online pharmacies offer
older and generic versions of drugs at a reduced cost, while Canadian
operations can actually offer brand name prescriptions (or whatever
prescription you require) for a significantly lower price. This is
simply because the Canadian Government regulates the cost of drugs,
which means you pay less at the cash register. As long as the pharmacy
is licensed to conduct international pharmacy services, ordering online
from a Canadian pharmacy is a safe and affordable alternative to the
high cost of drugs in the U.S.
This article was
written by Katerina Mitrou sponsored by
http://www.rxcarecanada.com/, a Canadian pharmacy online.
RXcarecanada.com takes the search out of your research by providing you the
lowest prices on medication. Reproductions of this article are encouraged
but must include a link back to
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