Cost of healthcare in the U.S.

Drug costs high but still better than alternatives

drugcostsPOST SUMMARY: (via Boston Globe) Fewer than 4 percent of patients use specialty drugs, but they account for 25 percent of total drug spending.  “The impact of the specialty tier benefit design falls disproportionately on patients who are living with diseases and conditions that are serious and life-threatening,” said Marialanna Lee, Northeast Region state government affairs director for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Often the specialty drug is the only one available for these conditions, she said. “It’s going to cost more in the long run,” predicts Patricia Ferland Weltin, executive director and founder of the Rare Disease United Foundation. If denied drugs that keep them well, she says, “They’re going to end up in the E.R, they’re going to end up sick, costing more money than if they took the drug. . . . Continue reading »

The staggering cost of diabetes

diabetesciostsPOST SUMMARY: The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 is $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity. The largest components of medical expenditures are: hospital inpatient care (43% of the total medical cost). Here is a story of one person.. Continue reading »

Cost vs. benefit of cancer drugs

costbenefit“Is a $30,000-a-month drug that improves survival by 1.4 months effective?  At the ASCO meeting this week, that dialog has already begun. In a forum on drug costs, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, The architect of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, said costs can no longer be ignored. Emanuel reminded his well-heeled audience that the median household income in the United States is $52,000.  So the key questions are these: (1) Is pharma developing cancer drugs that merely extend life for a short period of time knowing they are likely to be approved and (2) Does pharma see these drugs as a “cash cow” because most insurers are not going to deny patients these treatments? Continue reading »

Pfizer fights generic Lipitor with new promotion

cc_imgPOST SUMMARY: Rather than surrender branded Lipitor sales to generic competition, Pfizer is fighting back by offering patients a “Lipitor Choice” card.  However, insurers can’t be too pleased if patients opt for the more expensive branded product over the much less expensive generic.  Who are the real winners here? Continue reading »

It’s the cost of disease – not the cost of medicines – that threatens the US health care system.

The debate continues on healthcare costs and more and more misinformation is being talked about around the cost of drug development so I wanted to set the record straight.   First it’s important to know that Americans are profoundly unhealthy. America has a bad health problem ; 1 in 4 adults is obese; 1 in 5 smoke; 1 in 3 don’t take the medications prescribed by their physicians.  We need to focus on wellness, not just health care. The fix will be real only when individual Americans have more of an economic incentive to take care of their own health, and less incentive to shift the high cost of their own irresponsible health-care decisions to others and the drug industry. Continue reading »

Drug prices keep defying the law of gravity

cost of HepcPOST SUMMARY: Since 2007, the cost of brand-name medicines has surged, with prices doubling for dozens of established drugs that target everything from multiple sclerosis to cancer, blood pressure and even erections, according to an analysis conducted for Bloomberg News. While the consumer price index rose just 12 percent in the period, one diabetes drug quadrupled in price and another rose by 160 percent, according to the analysis by Los-Angeles based DRX, a provider of comparison software for health plans. Source: Bloomberg.  Why are drug prices rising and what can be done about it? Continue reading »

Why a prescription medication can cost $1000 per pill

cost of HepcPOST SUMMARY: What is a “fair price” for a medication and who should decide the cost to our healthcare system?  Drug prices are once again coming under scrutiny even though they only account for 10-12% of every healthcare dollar spent. The question comes down to this “are healthcare companies public companies functioning within a capitalist environment or are price controls going to be instituted thus limiting costs and revenues?” Continue reading »

A grassroots effort for pharma to help people

pharmahealthwagonPOST SUMMARY: While the pharmaceutical industry gives away a lot of free medications, it’s time  to go beyond this measure and reach out to the people and patients who need medical care, and prescription drugs, with a combined grassroots effort that demonstrates that the bottom line is people not profits. Continue reading »

Response to Times editorial on drug importation

0126_pills-money_416x4162POST SUMMARY: The NY Times, in an editorial today, left out some key information on compliance and drug costs as they try to support the importation of prescription drugs from outside the U.S..  The editorial suggests that patients should be allowed to purchase prescription drugs from pharmacies outside the U.S. and it suggests that scare” tactics, designed to bring up issues around drug quality, are unwarranted. .   Continue reading »

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