Prescription drug costs are often one of the most debilitating factors for anyone with mandatory prescriptions. You can cut back on luxuries, but you should never cut back on medicine.
What causes prescription drug costs to rocket so high? There are a few factors and there are ways to deal with them, some better than others.
Let’s walk through the basics of these prescription drugs and their costs:
The Truth About Prescription Drug Costs
As a nation, our spending on prescription drug costs has been growing more and more. The dangers, of course, can range from problematic to fatal.
What is causing this continuous increase? The answer lies in the nature of the healthcare system.
- No Competition
When it comes down to it, there is no real competition amongst pharmaceutical companies. There may be occasional shifts, but most name-brand medications have protections under patent law and others may have too much research to replicate.
This means that some important medications are the only option.
Insurance like Medicare does not get to negotiate prices, allowing companies to take their drug and charge what they deem they can get.
- Lack of Transparency
Many people believe that the high cost of medical care in the US is the actual cost that goes into providing the product or service. The truth is, with a few exceptions, companies inflate most of the costs.
As well, many companies work with pharmacy benefit managers on rebates and garnering larger commissions. Because increases remain hidden behind these rebates, most patients don’t even understand the reason or timing for increases.
- Acquisitions and Mergers
From buying out smaller, potential competitors to mergers large companies to cover and control more of the market, large pharmaceutical companies have many tricks to keep any unwanted market changes from happening.
Government Plans to Fight Drug Costs
There have been movements within the government in recent years to better examine the underlying causes of rising prescription drug costs.
Hearings by the House Oversight and Reform committee brought a few items to light. As well, some began the push for legal imports of drugs from Canada as well as granting the ability for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
The FDA plans on putting more effort and research into cheaper generic prescriptions and other equivalents. This has led to many companies raising the prices of the drugs with patent protections to compensate.
What You Can Do
There are a number of different options for you. While none of them fix the underlying issues of the Healthcare system, they can get you some lower prescription costs.
With a better grasp of what dictates prescription drug costs, you might be able to avoid some of the common pitfalls. While it may seem out of your hands, keeping an eye on the world of healthcare can help keep you informed.
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