Over the course of the past several weeks, I made it a point to ask people why they thought the price of medications was so high. Here are the top two answers:
- The pharmaceutical companies seem to be able to do whatever they want
- The insurance companies have found a way to make more money
Well, not exactly. In our continuing effort to teach (and learn!) our TAHU monthly meeting for March will feature a guest speaker, Deanna Homer, vice president of pharmacy and quality operations for HealthTeam Advantage, a prominent MAPD provider in the Triad and Charlotte areas.
So, why are the meds so expensive? There is much more to the equation than I had ever imagined. For example, some meds take 10 years of trials and testing before they ever hit the market. Also, for every med that is finally approved, there are more than 100 meds that never get that final approval and are discarded. Obviously, research and development is a big part of the costs. But...that's not all. I'm not going to expand on the rest of that answer here, but there are many factors that go into the price of medications.
What can be done to curtail it, and have we done enough? Hard to say, but have you ever wondered why it is allowed for pharmaceutical companies to spend $$millions of dollars on those ads every night on television? Ever wonder why it takes so long for meds to have a generic equivalent? We've wondered that too, so let's learn more about all of the factors so we can speak intelligently to our clients and find ways to advocate for improvements to the system.
If you have a topic that you would like to see developed, be sure to let us know!