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Drug Companies

Do you want to know why health care costs are skyrocketing?  Hereís your answer. 60 pills for $1,748.75.  Yep.  Thatís $29.15 per pill.

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Why is this pill so expensive? It was approved in late 2008 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Itís classified as an ďOrphanĒ drug, with only 30,000 people in the U.S. able to benefit from it, so itís a very small market compared to yet another cholesterol drug.  Even with Orphan status, it took years to get through the FDA approval process.  Despite the fact that the exact same drug has been used in Europe and Canada for decades.  Let me say that again: the exact same drug and the exact same patient set for decades.  Itís been around so long itís available as a generic in those countries And do you know how much it costs to buy from a pharmacy in Canada needing only your U.S. doctorís prescription?   $1.40 per pill.  And thatís buying it directly, with no insurance!

Luckily the insurance plan covers this new pill, for $40 for these 60 pills. Thatís 67 cents per pill which is certainly better than $1.40, but the insurance company has to pay $1,708.75 for that bottle of pills. In this end, this will be reflected in the premiums that everyone has to pay for health insurance.  And you know what the kicker is?  It doesnít cure anything! It just makes one symptom better, an improvement in one noticeable aspect of quality-of-life.

I do thank the drug company for going to all of the time, effort and expense to bring this drug directly to U.S. patients. But, this cost is simply outrageous.  And they share my outrage with the FDA that required years of testing, using their process, rather than vastly accelerating the approval by leveraging the testing and patient experiences of decades of use in other countries who really do know what theyíre doing with drug approvals.