Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Generics Increasing Cost - I Smell a Rat

Surely you have noticed how suddenly generic drugs’ prices have gone up 5-10 times.[1] Given the history of lying and outright fraud associated with Big Pharma you and I suspect some sordid deal cooking in secretive corporate meeting rooms. Some will cynically maintain that this is how businesses operate in general, as Adam Smith predicted they would. That greedy invisible hand does not know when to be satisfied; left unsupervised it will collude with others to rip off the public.[2]

Remember when we found out that Big Pharma was (and probably still is) paying generic companies to delay production of their drugs? They both benefit this way because the more expensive brand name drugs have no competition for a longer period of time.[3]

We just learned of another shameless tactic from brand name drug companies. They now claim that generics are not as good as their newer, more expensive products. The makers of Concerta for ADD claim that the oldie moldie drugs, such as methylphenidate, which worked just fine up to now, are causing patients unnecessary grief by failing to perform as well as Concerta.

The makers of methylphenidate are fighting back. They do not feel Concerta makers are looking at the scientific data on their products, and have even failed to meet to discuss this matter. I believe the methylphenidate makers. Despite the rift between drug makers I believe we, the public, will end up losing. I have no hope of improvement in the near future.

As Quixotic as it sounds, we must continue our efforts to rely less on symptomatic therapies and courageously face the roots of our medical problems: relationships, environment and diets.

PS- quit blaming your genes-they are responsible for only 15% of health problems….

[1] “High-Cost Generic Drugs — Implications for Patients and Policymakers,” N Engl J Med 2014; 371:1859

[2] “Wealth of Nations,” and “Theory of Moral Sentiment.”

[3] JAMA 2011;306:2443


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