Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Trekker4747, Aug 10, 2013.
Wow, someplace run by bigger idiots than where I work.
80 bucks goes a fucking long way where you're from.
Steak and whores are cheap in the heartland.
They'd need to be paying you to have enough left for 2 pounds of weed. That would set most people back at least $5000.
I don't consider drug company profits defensible on the level at which they currently exist. In my opinion, the public interest should trump patent considerations. Let drug companies make a profit, but constrain it to be relative to the actual production and R&D costs of the drug, rather than permit the monopolistic pricing that currently exists.
Drug pricing is itself a complex maze of regulation and backroom dealing in which manufacturers, insurers, pharmacies, and regulators all try to gain the advantage. Rebates, formulary schedules, Medicare/Medicaid pricing, insurance networks, 340B, etc. etc. This is the industry I work in, and I can tell you it's basically insane. Patients consistently get the short end of the stick because every other involved party is trying to extract a few more pennies (or more) from the others. There aren't even reliable list prices for drugs, as that information is distributed by a handful of companies who collect market pricing data and then publish "standard" prices which may not be based on anything substantial--or which may, in fact, be the result of collusion with drug manufacturers, something which came to light a few years ago when drug wholesaler McKesson was found to be fixing prices via First Databank. The end result was forbidding FDB from publishing any more AWP statistics, though other companies can still publish that data.
While not by design, the lack of price transparency disincentivizes patients from shopping around for the best price. Maybe two pharmacies sell that brand drug at the same price, or maybe they don't. Maybe one of them is in your insurer's network and offers you a better copay, even if the base price is higher. What if there are a dozen pharmacies near you? Are you going to call them all and check the prices for every drug, with and without your insurance? There is nowhere the lay person can go and find out if the price you're quoted is fair or reflects the market, since so-called market prices are proprietary and you generally have to buy an expensive subscription to get access to such info.
The healthcare industry as a whole is rife with rent-seeking behavior, the pharmaceutical industry is perhaps just the biggest offender.
I would point out that your local pharmacy, however, is not responsible for these problems, and likely isn't making a killing off of drugs. They're a bit like gas stations: they don't make much from the main attraction (prescription drugs/gas), but there's a big markup on everything else, and that's where the profit comes from. Even then, most independent pharmacies are struggling. CVS is so successful because they also run a massive pharmacy benefit management business, which lets them get a nice cut of money on the back end. Tellingly, Walgreens has no such business, and shows much less revenue and profit. Most other pharmacies are not chains and survive pretty much at the mercy of whatever pharmacy network they've signed onto (such as CVS/Caremark.) They have little or no leverage to negotiate prices.
Well, for some people, it's not.
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