Tuesday, February 02, 2016

"Affordable" generic drugs becoming less obtainable

In an article in Blood, the American Society of Hematology says pharmaceutical companies use several strategies to keep cheaper generic drugs from market.

In 2013, Americans spent more per capita on pharmaceuticals than Canada, the next-highest.

Some drugs can cost a patient $100,000 a year.

One in five Americans say they have not filled a prescription because of cost.

Generics emerge when the patent on the name-brand drug expires. They save the system $1.5 billion a year. Yet, many patients cannot get them.

The researchers say drug companies use many strategies to delay, prevent, or suppress generics.

---Pay for delay. The patent owner pays the generic company to delay putting the generic on the market.

----The patent holder creates its own generic. This would be OK, except it is often done to threaten the generic company that does not go along with pay to delay.

--Product hopping. The name-brand drug company makes a slightly altered version, maybe with a different tablet or dose, and the patent on that has not expired.

The doctors said they saw leukemia patients (they are blood docs) everyday who could not afford the life-saving meds.

Well, this sucks.

No comments: