Earlier this month, a news report detailed how a group of hospitals plans to work together to form a new nonprofit that will produce generic drugs. The hospitals are fed up with shortages of key drugs and price increases and they have decided to take matters in their own hands and provide some competition to drug manufacturers. The hospitals feel if they work together and form a buying pool they can develop enough business to be successful and force price competition.
Drug companies are pushing the envelope with their price increases. I recently had a call from a relative who was upset about the price of a heart drug she had been prescribed which was going to cost her $446 every two months. She wanted my help getting the drug from Canada where it is about less than half that price. Pharmacists report that there are shortages of long established drugs like Atenolol which regulates the heart.
President Trump at a ceremony for the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Azar, a former drug company executive says he wants him to work on lowering drug prices. So far, Trump has been all talk on this front and has done nothing except what the drug companies want him to do. He campaigned as if he was the consumer’s friend on this issue but has ignored it. It’s clear the market rules do not work with prescription drugs for the benefit of consumers.
Meanwhile, the drug companies keep moaning they need all this money to develop drugs – at the same time as they have become one of the largest campaign contributors to members of Congress. They keep pushing to stop Medicare from negotiating drug prices and of course, don’t want drugs that are negotiated at cheaper prices in others countries coming into the United States.