Yesterday I met an old colleague who was in town for an ad board with some PCP’s. When she called me and said “you better come here this” I knew I was in for some good insights, but these insights quickly turned into a venting session as doctors let off steam about the current pricing of drugs, both generic and branded.
Here are some of the quotes that I captured…
“The current prices of prescription drugs are unrealistic. Now when I write an Rx I’m not sure if my patient is going to fill it because of high out-of-pocket costs”.
“I have a patient with MS that routinely comes to see me because she can’t afford the cost of new drugs. I feel helpless even though I have tried to get her on therapy through drug support programs”.
“There are some generic drugs which have gone up in price 500%! There just isn’t any justification for this and it’s simply gouging patients and insurers”.
“I have started to ask patients if they can afford the medications I prescribe. This is especially the case with patients who are on multiple medications”.
“Don’t give me this bull about cost-benefit. It’s about profit and always will be about profit”.
These were just some of the quotes that I could write down, the conversations went on a long time and although insurers did not escape their wrath it’s clear that they are angry at the drug industry. One doctor went as far to say that she felt that she should be able to get free product to patients who can’t afford their medication. Another said she routinely asks her drug rep about product pricing.
It’s only a matter of time before the lid breaks open on drug pricing. I can see some drug company CEO’s in front of Congress either pleading the fifth or talking about R&D costs versus profit margins.