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Published On: Tue, Oct 18th, 2016

Patients Struggling with High Drug Charges

Medical costs throughout the United States have been soaring, from rising monthly premiums for health insurance policies, to the rising cost of drugs. The out-of-pocket costs that are associated with expensive new medications are leaving many people unable to get the medicines that they and their children need to be well. Even those who are relatively affluent and insured find it hard to afford these necessary drugs.  

photo Emuishere Pelicula via Flickr

photo Emuishere Pelicula via Flickr

How Much Do Americans Spend on Medications?

Americans spend a lot of money on their prescription medications. In fact, last year, more than $400 billion were spent prior to discounts like those that can be received with the help of prescription discount cards like medicationdiscountcard.com.

The problem is that the amount of money that people spend on their medications is set to continue to rise, and rise quickly. And the worst part is that there are only a few regulations that are currently in place designed to protect consumers from drug companies that want to increase their prices by massive amounts without warning.

Recent Price Jumps That Have Left People Stunned and Helpless

Recent headlines have proven just how expensive medications in the United States can become, even in a period of just 24 hours. Medicines that were once affordable could skyrocket in price, leaving patients completely stunned and unable to afford the medications that they were used to getting. One example is EpiPen, whose price was increased by a whopping 400%, and another example is Daraprim, whose price went from just $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.

The Reasons for the Price Increases

If you are currently struggling to afford the medications that you and your family need to stay well, even if you have a good health insurance plan, know that you are not alone. The current problem is the result of:

  • Drug companies being able to charge whatever amount they want
  • Insurance providers charging more
  • Old drugs being reformulated as supposedly new drugs
  • Generic shortages that result in price increases
  • The rise of expensive specialty drugs

What the Government Should Be Doing

Despite how much people all over the country are struggling, the government has not done enough to provide relief and punish the drug companies. What the government can do to help people is place a limit upon the out-of-pocket costs that patients should be forced to pay.

Authorities can also work harder to approve more generic drugs, creating more competition in the marketplace and providing more options to more patients. Also, making it legal to import and sell medications from Canada and Europe would also help drive the cost of drugs down.

And, finally, the government could start using what are known as march-in rights that already exist. These would force a drug company to let another manufacturer create affordable generic versions when a drug is made with taxpayer money but the public encounters problems accessing that drug.

Until changes are made to laws and regulations within the pharmaceutical industry, it is the patients that will continue to suffer.

Author: Joao Pedro

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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