Introduction: Increasingly High Prices for Prescription Drugs as the Reason for Concern
Creating the environment in which patients are provided with access to high-quality healthcare services is crucial to the improvement of the quality of people’s lives. In Florida, however, the opportunities for people to use the available healthcare options are limited since the cost of medicine has been on the rise since recently (Kesselheim, Avorn, & Sarpatwari, 2016). According to the nationwide data, “drug prices have risen by an average of 10% over the past year” (Pajer, 2016, p. para. 1). The identified change is especially evident in Florida, which ranks as the eighth in the list of the states with the most expensive drugs ($17.43).
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Reasons for Seeking the Support: The Rise in Costs and the Drop-in Patient Outcomes
The reasons for the search of the support and legal assistance from the outside resources include:
- the consistent increase in prices that contributes to a gradual yet inevitable drop in patient outcomes;
- the fact that, without the ability to purchase the required medications, people are forced to choose cheaper and, therefore, less efficient drugs, at best, and reject the existing treatment options, at worst (Kesselheim, et al., 2016);
- the fact that the death toll, as well as the overall level of disease and disorder development in Florida, has been growing consistently over the past few years: “in 2015, both gonorrhea and HIV infection increased, in addition to chlamydia and syphilis” (Florida Department of Health, 2015, p. xi).
Implications for the Nursing Practice and the Patient Outcomes: Summary
In order to address the problem, one might suggest the introduction of a policy that would compel the government-protected monopolies to reduce the prices for their products. To be more accurate, the issue of the exclusivity rights that are granted to pharmaceutics companies needs to be reconsidered, and the award and extension thereof must be controlled more rigidly. While the identified change in the legal policies of Florida is likely to face impressive resistance from drug-producing organizations, the improvement in patient outcomes will become the reward for the efforts of the local authorities.
Particularly, it is expected that the change in Florida’s legislation concerning the exclusivity rights of pharmaceutical monopolies will provide more opportunities for improving the quality of the nursing practice. In other words, nurses will be able to use a much larger array of tools for assisting the target population. Patients, in turn, will obtain access to the prescription medications that will help them address their current health issues successfully (Kantarjian, Steensma, Sanjuan, Elshaug, & Light, 2014).
Conclusion: Recommendations for the Improvement of the Florida Healthcare System
The current issue regarding incredibly high prices for prescription drugs in Florida needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Without a coherent strategy that will allow patients to use a wider range of medications, including the ones that are more expensive and, therefore, more efficient, one is likely to face an even greater increase in morbidity rates among the Florida population. Therefore, a change in the legal system of the state will have to be considered.
Particularly, the pharmaceutical monopolies that define prices for drugs will have to be restrained as far as the choice of pricing policies is concerned. The award of exclusivity rights for setting the prices for the corresponding products, which the Florida government currently grants to the identified organizations, will have to be revisited and redesigned. Although the change in the specified policies is likely to cause pharmaceutical organizations to object, it is crucial to the well-being of the Florida residents. Furthermore, the promotion of discounts for patients that do not have the required amount of money for expensive medications will have to be considered.
Florida Department of Health. (2015). Florida morbidity statistics report 2015.
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Kantarjian, H., Steensma, D., Sanjuan, J. R., Elshaug, A., & Light, D. (2014). High cancer drug prices in the United States: Reasons and proposed solutions. Journal of Oncology Practice, 10(4), 208-211. doi:10.1200/JOP.2013.001351
Kesselheim, A. S., Avorn, J., & Sarpatwari, A. (2016). The high cost of prescription drugs in the United States: Origins and prospects for reform. JAMA, 316(8), 858-871. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.11237.
Pajer, N. (2016). 2016 prescription prices and purchase trends.