Prescription drug prices at an all time highposted Wed, 9 Mar 2011
The price of prescription drugs in the United States has skyrocketed in recent years. This is especially apparent when you look at widely used, name-brand drugs. An AARP study from last summer indicated a shocking 41 percent increase in the price of the top 207, name-brand drugs from 2004-2009.
Has your salary or pension ever increased by 41 percent over five years? I hope so, but I doubt it. Imagine if the price of food or gas nearly doubled over the course of five years. That would surely cause people to riot.
There is no logical reason for this huge price jump. The increase is more than triple that of the consumer price index for the same period (13.3 percent). Yet, for the most part, the American public appears to be quietly accepting these exorbitant drug prices. What choice do they have?
Recent research has shown that as many as 25 million Americans can’t afford their needed medications and end up skipping doses or simply going without them. This public health crisis can no longer be ignored. In a recent Consumers Union survey of 22,000 people, 84 percent named the rising cost of prescription drugs as one of their top ten concerns.
Pharmaceutical companies would have us believe that the high prices we pay are due to their astronomical research and development costs. But a new study by health economists Rebecca Warburton and Donald W. Light sheds some serious doubt on this popular claim. We’ve long been relying on inflated data from economists on the industry payroll who set the average R&D costs of a new drug at $1.3 bilion.
Other industrialized countries pay a fraction of what we do for prescription drugs, usually because their governments subsidize or negotiate prices with the drug companies.
Here’s an example of recent retail prices for three of the top selling, name-brand drugs: Plavix, Lipitor and Nexium. The columns indicate the prices from a U.S. pharmacy, Health Canada and two international pharmacies (randomly chosen using Pharmacychecker.com).
|Drug||Indication||Drugstore.com (United States)||Health Canada||International Pharmacy 1||International Pharmacy 2|
|Plavix 75mg, 90 tablets||Anticoagulant||$565.97$6.28 per pill||$268.02 $2.98 per pill||$140 (84)$1.67 per pill||$148 (84) $1.76 per pill|
|Nexium 20mg capsule, 90 caps||Anti Acid||$547.96$6.09 per pill||$273.21 $3.03 per pill||$189.51 (70)$2.70 per pill||$76.50 (84)$0.91 per pill|
|Lipitor 10 mg tablet, 90 tabs||For Cholesterol||$309.97$3.44 per pill||$215.00$2.39 per pill||$162.48 (90) $1.80 per pill||$80.07$0.89 per pill|
Notice the dramatic U.S. price markup. These are the same exact drugs, made by the same companies! For over a million Americans who import their prescription drugs through legitimate and safe online pharmacies, the choice comes down to simple economics.
Read more about the AARP study: