It is a widely accepted truth that pharmaceuticals’ prescription in the U.S. is the most expensive aspect of the entire healthcare system. Americans tend to spend more than 1,200$ on medical drugs a year, which is multiple times more than in any other developed country (Sunrise House, 2019). Raising prices primarily affects uninsured, underinsured people, or those who own high-deductible plans. As a result, many Americans cannot afford remedies or skip doses of a prescribed drug.
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In the past, the high prices of medications were attributed to innovation and improved the quality of drugs. Nonetheless, the companies are still increasing the cost of existing and available medicines even though new technologies move forward. The United States enables each drug manufacturer to set their prices and come into the market (Sunrise House, 2019). Consequently, not having strict price-setting policies, medication costs fluctuate unpredictably. Despite constant complaints and concerns about the drug prescription issue, the American government did not establish a system that would guarantee cost reduction.
Nonetheless, the state and federal governments found specific approaches for managing this problem. Such methods as increased manufacturer discounts, pre-authorization, bulk state purchases, and large retailers’ competition on the market were used to reduce prices. The U.S. is trying to make costs transparent for customers. Furthermore, in May 2018, Trump summoned the Administration to discuss the drug prescription problem’s acuteness and suggest strategies for its resolution (NCSL, 2019). As a result, he said that better negotiation, lowered list prices, increased competition, and reduced out-of-pocket spending would be efficient for solving this issue. These actions are supposed to increase the transformation of the entire healthcare system and promote a value-based approach.
Money becomes an issue when a person receives a prescription of the drugs that would cost them thousands of dollars. Consequently, the majority of the population cannot receive proper medications due to their increased prices. The government, however, attributes this problem to the manufacturers and companies that cannot negotiate costs (Sunrise House, 2019). Despite the fact the United States has been debating this issue for decades, no concrete policies were implemented to eradicate this problem.
As a result, generic drugs were introduced to substitute high-cost pharmaceuticals. Even though they are cheaper, they still undergo safety and effectiveness checkups to meet the standards as well as brand-name drugs do. Nevertheless, generic medicine cannot fully replace the original ones. Therefore, many countries have to obtain patient consent to switch to generics. For instance, in 2006, Medicaid spent $19.8 million to switch onto Simvastatin, a marketed generic form of a pharmaceutical named Zocor (Sunrise House, 2019). However, they did not receive patient consent and had to pay more.
Now both state and drug manufacturers aim to reduce medication costs and make them affordable for every American citizen. They create pricing programs such as GoodRx or 340B that help pharmacies or hospitals purchase drugs at a lowered price with a 30% discount (Emanuel, (2018). What is more, pharmaceutical companies offer coupons to decrease patients’ expenses. However, these measures are not as efficient as they seem to be. The quality of some drugs remains arguable; thus, the value-based approach should be utilized to evaluate if the effect corresponds with the cost. Americans must know if the medicine treats their disorders or temporarily alleviates pain to prolong their lives. Citizens deserve to live healthily without the enormous expenses of pharmaceuticals that are inutile.
Emanuel, E. (2018). The real cost of the US health care system. JAMA, 319(10), 983–985. Web.
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Sunrise House. (2019). Why are prescription drugs so expensive in the United states? Web.
NCSL. (2019). NCSL prescription drug policy resource center. Web.