Monday, October 1, 2012


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What is a fair price for Drugs?

1) Should drug makers offer deep discounts to developing nations?

Yes, of course they should. It is the duty of those who have more to take responsibility for others less fortunate. Without their help many sick in third-world countries would never experience the miracle of modern medicine. However, I don’t think Canada is a “developing” nation. If these drug companies can sell drugs to Canada at such a deep discount then it is obvious, the drugs we buy are overpriced.

) O.K., but does this mean Americans are shouldering the burden for paying for the R & D through high prices?

It is obvious we are shouldering the burden for R & D, but some of that burden could and should be shared by others like Canada and much of Europe. If the drug makers would charge other countries (like Canada) more, they would be in turn able to lower the prices in the US and still have the revenue needed for R & D. Why should Americans shoulder the burden? I think about it like this There is a grandfather who discovers a cure for a serious disease which has broken out in his and surrounding communities. Word of his invention spreads quickly and many come to him and request it. The grandfather is a caring person and sells a vial for $10 a piece, but if someone says they cannot afford to pay the fee he knows they have no other hope so he gives it to them for $1. At times he has been known to hand it over without receiving a dime. It makes him feel good to know that he is helping others. He has a dilemma; it costs money to make the drug so he decides that his family should bear the burden. So he begins to charge his family (children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews) $100 a vial. This way he can continue to develop the drug and fund his research. Grandpa is doing a great service, but he can’t figure out why his family is upset with him.

) Is expensive R & D the determining factor in drug pricing?

It depends on the research. I have found conflicting information about this. If you listen to the drug companies, they will tell you it is, but it is more reasonable to believe it is a matter of charging what the market will bear. I will give the example of heparin. Heparin was improved and it was found that it was good for thinning the blood and reducing blood clots in those patients having hip replacements; thus potentially saving the an average of $00 in medical costs. So now the drug company charges a 100 times more than they did for the original drug and still produce overall savings.

Is it wrong to make money � no it is part of what makes our country great, When prices become unreasonable and the cost of developing the drug is not the reason it costs so much, but the fact that is what they “can” charge � something needs to change.

4) In this context, are prices really too high in the U.S.?

Yes, the Canadian government has placed price controls and so the drug makers cannot charge as much for their drugs. They negotiate lower prices with the drug makers through its national health care system. (SEE POWER POINT). Look at the prices of these drugs and what they sell for in Canada. It is not a matter of a slight discount. Many price differences are extreme. The U.S. government needs to find a way to lower the cost for the American consumer. Price control may not be the answer, but the current system does not work. That’s the reason I opened my office which helps customers receive their prescriptions from Canada and take advantage of these savings. I have customers come into my office every day and they simply cannot afford to continue to pay for their prescriptions. Take for example the Kuhns. They spend nearly $400 a month on prescription medicine and it is nearly half their monthly income. They learned I could help them buy the same medicine for $70 a month. Sometimes they would have to wait weeks to receive the medicine, but it was worth it.

I am doing a public service. The customer pays no fee to me � the Canadian company pays me a small fee, but this is not passed to the customer. I am not getting rich from this, I am helping my fellow citizen and it alarms me that the FDA and US government is trying to close down operations such as mine.

Dan Burton and Julia Carson both are in favor of making sales from Canada expressly legal.

Seniors should not have to choose between food and medicine.

5) High prices mean that companies can do more R & D. But how much does this really cost?

Again, it depends on who you are listening to. Drug companies will argue that this is what we are paying for and then another report will show that much of the revenue is spent on salaries and bonuses. No one will dispute the importance of R & D or that it is costly.

6) How can the US get prices that are appropriate?

Allow the consumer to import the drugs from Canada. This is a fairly new practice, but Canadian pharmacies estimate that more than a million residents buy drugs from Canada. In 00 US drug sales topped 1 million. Many will argue it is no different than purchasing a car from Japan. Technically, ordering drugs from Canada is violating the law, but it is something that will never stop! If I close my doors, another shop will open. Many seniors are afraid of the internet, but the numbers are decreasing. For savings of thousands of dollars a year, many will learn how to order over the internet or have a friend or family member do it for them.

The importation of drugs is here to stay until some one does something about the high prices we are forced to pay in the US.

7) And what’s the right policy for the Third World?

Continue to help them, but don’t forget about the poor right here in the USA.

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