American Pharmacy Costs

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by jakeatolla, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. jakeatolla

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,093
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    I just came across this site, and I always knew American
    drug costs were higher than up here in Canada, but
    jesus H christ, this is nuts. It really opens your eyes to
    the discrepancy in pricing.:eek:
     
  2. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Messages:
    83,922
    Likes Received:
    34
    Amazing, isn't it?

    Thanks to Wal-Mart I get a whole bunch of generic prescriptions for $4 per month and thanks to Pfizer I get $600 of their brand-name prescriptions each month free because of my income level.

    Otherwise I'd be trying to figure out whether to buy medicines or groceries.
     
  3. palmit

    palmit Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    I met a canadian girl who said the exact same thing. I know they cost less in Canada (all those webistes and such) but is the difference really that big?

    With free health care do you guys have to pay for drugs at all?
     
  4. rubberwilli

    rubberwilli Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    598
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    My medications would be about $2500 a month if I didn't have insurance and with insurance it's $86.15 a month ($25 co-pay maximum). Of course my monthly health care insurance is $618 a month right now, (which was worth it considering my ~$100K hospital stay this year) and about $200 when I get a job again.

    Most places I have worked have had the health care flexible spending accounts that lets you set aside pre-tax earnings to pay for out of pocket medical expenses, but you have to estimate what you will use in a year, and if you don't use it all, then you loose the money. It's a rip off that those funds don't roll over at the end of the year so you end up estimating on the low side and splitting the difference.
     
  5. Freddie53

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Messages:
    7,285
    Likes Received:
    60
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The South, USA
    And for other products world trade policies forbid selling products for export cheaper than the cost in the producing nation. For instance, Japan can't dumb cars here at a lower price than it cost the Japanese to buy the same product. So why, are we Americans dumping our drugs on the world on the cheap and then pricing them out of site for Americans?
     
  6. jakeatolla

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,093
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    Ok, apparently I must be on some good Meds, cuz I forgot
    to post a link to the site. DOH!!!! :banghead2:
    Oh well, better late than never.
     
  7. viking1

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,706
    Likes Received:
    5

    Yes, there is a big difference. Some of the cheaper generic store brands of
    over the counter medicines are even made in Canada, and sold here.

    The US drug makers and pharmacies are just gouging the citizens here.

    The rich Canadians cross the border to the US for medical care. They can get done what they want and when they want as long as they have money.
    They don't have to wait or have a "medically necessary" condition.

    The poor from the US who live in border states go to Canada to get their prescription drugs. Kind of a paradox isn't it?

    Our health care system here in the US is broken. Only the rich or those with a big job will have any real health care in a few years.
     
  8. jakeatolla

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,093
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    Our health care system is pretty basic, drugs are not covered.
    Unless of course you claim refugee status, or you're on welfare.
    If you don't have benefits at work, you're shit outta luck. Just like our cousins to the south.
     
  9. amhersthungboi

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Messages:
    380
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Australia
    Here's the perspective from down-under ...

    Most drugs here cost less than do the same drug in the US (less in Australian dollars, which means after the conversion they are appreciably less). Plus, the Medicare system here only requires you to pay the first $20 or so of your prescription, then then Medicare pays the rest. Of course, not all drugs are covered under Medicare, so if you want something not covered (for example, Propecia), then you're out of luck unless you have private health care (which costs extra money, about A$50 or so a month).

    Same for medical procedures and doctors appointments. Typical 20 minute doctor's consultation is about A$45, and medicare chips in A$32 of that.

    HOWEVER, the cost of living in Australia, and in many other countries, is radically more expensive than it is in the US. In Australia, prices, after conversion, are still 33% to 250% more expensive than the same item in the US. Thus, while the US might be gouging itself in terms of meds and health care, the overall cost of living in the US is still considerably lower than in other countries. Sooo ... let's not get completely anti-US here. US health care system sure as hell has its flaws, but all-in-all our dollar goes a lot further than it does in most other industrialized countries.
     
  10. FBAnder

    FBAnder Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Messages:
    173
    Albums:
    3
    Likes Received:
    6
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Chicago
    Pharmacies are not gouging anyone. Profit margins for pharmacies are TINY. Why? Insurance companies know exactly how much drugs cost and will only pay a certain amount. So THEY dictate the profit margins not the pharmacies. Most big pharmacy chains deal with patients that have insurance. The people that don't have other options available to them (aside from $4 generics at Wal-Mart, Target, etc.)

    Retail pharmacies make the chunk of their PROFIT from general merchandise and not from perscriptions. Sales is another story. Yes, health care costs in the U.S. can be outrageous and most employers push the majority of that cost onto their employees (when is the last time anyone had $0 deductible and $0 annual out of pocket limit for any reasonable amount?) but there is still no reason to not have health insurance. I can't believe the number of people with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills that can't pay. There are options out there...stop blaming "the man" and find them.
     
  11. DC_DEEP

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Messages:
    9,029
    Likes Received:
    12
    I don't know how the pricing is derived in other countries, but I'm guessing that it's a formula based on production costs.

    In the US, however, the drug companies claim that the high cost of many of the drugs is to cover the cost of research and development. That's not entirely true. Many of the more expensive drugs are simply priced according to "what the market will bear." In other words, what's the most we can charge for this drug and still have people buy it? For example, two different drugs may have the same production cost - say, $1 per tablet to manufacture, package, and ship; standard markup for retail is 100%, so you would expect both drugs to cost the consumer $2 per tablet. But going with the "what the market will bear" method of pricing, one of those drugs will retail for $2, and the other will retail for $8. Imitrex and other migraine drugs in the same family will generally go for about $20 per dose in pill form, and about $30 per dose in the injectable form. I just about had a heart attack when I got a prescription filled for Maxalt (another drug like Imitrex). 9 tablets, and with my insurance and co-pay, it came to $180. On the other hand, a simple Schedule II drug like Percocet wholesales at a cost of about 26 cents per tablet.

    It is indeed twisted. The argument that some drugs are more expensive to pay for R & D is laughable. Those companies are making such windfall profits, they could afford the research, standard mark-up pricing, and still make huge profit.
     
  12. B_spiker067

    B_spiker067 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Messages:
    2,189
    Likes Received:
    0
    New Flash: America subsidizes much of the industrialized world's medicine.

    Old news.
     
  13. viking1

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,706
    Likes Received:
    5

    You got your info from a different place than I did. You work in the pharmaceutical business by any chance? If this is so why the big difference from the Costco pharmacy to most others? How did a local pharmacist start out 20 years ago and now own 3 pharmacies and just build a new house that cost $500,000? Complete with a heated indoor pool. All while paying off college debts at that. I went to high school with this guys sister. His family wasn't wealthy. Pharmacies jack prices up by 2, 3, even 4 times or more. All sounds pretty lucrative to me. I am tired of working my ass off for nothing to support these gougers.

    By the way I do have health insurance at work. The copays and deductibles go up almost ever year. My salary isn't keeping pace.
    I even have to pay part of the cost now. I say in 10 years, 15 at the most and poor working people like me won't have any insurance at all.
    With no insurance we can't afford health care.

    As far as blaming somebody else...who would you suggest I blame?
    What other options? I guess I could move to a foreign country then immigrate back in and get everything free. Hmmm...wonder if that would work?
     
  14. Lordpendragon

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,880
    Likes Received:
    1
    Not true Spiker.

    I have a friend who was quite high up in Novartis. The drug companies are amongst the most secretive in the world. What you see on the stock exchange is a very small part of the real companies. The profits are astronomical and as DC says the R&D costs are a complete smoke screen, all placed in the public side of the businesses to make their profits appear smaller.

    They are able to blackmail governments, and they do. In the UK, our system is like Australia, we pay a prescription for the drugs, i.e. about $15, we pick up the rest of the cost in tax, so it isn't exactly free. When the drug companies have a patented medication it is hard for our government to negotiate on price, because the supplier can just say fine, tell your tax payers that you are going to let them die. They pay up.

    It's time to reduce the patent life on drugs to say five years.
     
  15. B_spiker067

    B_spiker067 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Messages:
    2,189
    Likes Received:
    0
    The problem is the business people involved. I'll pull these number out of my ass sort of but I saw a program were research and development was a third of the cost, which is not cheap, infrastructure and sundry items was some other percentage, but ADVERTISING was another 37-40%.

    I hate fucking businessmen and lawyers who are just fucking cogs in the system bent on fucking things up to justify their pay check. NAV's (No Added Value). Though there are useful businessmen and lawyers those that aren't should go back to school and learn to develop drugs.

    And sorry to say that in that same program it was stated that Canada at least did collective bargaining that really got them lower prices. America is their cash cow and Canada was just more gravy for the drug companies. They almost didn't care what Canadians pay.

    That is how come Americans would go over the border to buy their meds. Then the drug companies told Canada to stop allowing that or they'd up the price. Americans subsidize Canadians and probably the English and Australians too.

    OFF TOPIC SLOGAN THAT MIGHT WORK IN AMERICA SOMEDAY:
    "Don't socialize medicine, socialize insurance." (i.e. They should ALL be non-profits and Hospitals should still compete with each other to get the best service possible.)

    P.S. I'm googling Novartis.
     
  16. Lordpendragon

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,880
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ring the bells :biggrin1: :eek:

    I completely agree about NAV's.

    But from first hand experience I know that US companies also try to make higher profits overseas to subsidize (make more competitive) their home market.

    The global drug companies have immense power and they abuse it.
     
  17. DC_DEEP

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Messages:
    9,029
    Likes Received:
    12
    Well, somewhat true, Spiker. Subsidizing isn't really the right word, but they do sell to other countries at considerably less than here, and not all types of our drugs are sold abroad. The ones that are generally have more of a standard markup, rather than arbitrary pricing.
    That's the part that most people in the US forget about - the government subsidy on medical care and pharmaceuticals has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is taxes. Socialized medical care is somewhat less expensive overall, though, because the competition is not there.

    I'm not really sure how I feel about the patent life on drugs. Longer patents keep the consumer cost higher for a longer period of time; shorter patents could possibly result in less aggressive research in some areas. There's a tradeoff somewhere in there, but I'm not sure where the balance point should be.
     
  18. kalipygian

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,982
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    35
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    alaska
    Perhaps publicly funded research laboratories, with the medicines developed in the public domain, would be better for everyone in the world except stockholders of pharmaceutical companies. I like seeing countries like Thailand and India ignoring monopolies.
    I have paid enough to insurance companies to have paid for a house, that money is for them about 98% profit distributed to their stockholders. I presently don't have coverage, it would cost $580. a month and would not include dental.
    I would rather see a system where payments made for medical coverage would actually give medical coverage, rather than taking the money and running.
     
  19. rubberwilli

    rubberwilli Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    598
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    I saw this last week on NBC, a non-profit pharmaceutical company.

    Let's hope it becomes a trend. It's what drug companies should be doing. (This from a boy who grew up in the town that Eli Lilly owns.)

    Institute for One World Health
     
  20. transformer_99

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Messages:
    2,466
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    How non-profit is it really ?

    Institute for OneWorld Health— About Us: History

    Bill Gates of Microsoft as the grant donor ? And I'd have to say that's a narrow range of healthcare issues, ones that are rarely found in first and second tier nations.

    Institute for OneWorld Health—Diseases and Programs

    In America, Medicare and Medicaid are the donors, and it's still pretty pricey. And sometimes you have to maintain a minimum health standard to keep the 3rd world labor pool working.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted