AMERICA'S HIGH PRICED DRUGS - Consumers And Providers Are Losers


By Bob Weaver

Yesterday I spoke with a friend who went to his physician for a chronic health problem, from which he has little relief. He has been placed on various treatments over the past three years, with little improvement from the pain, refusing to take pain killers and narcotics.

His physician said there was a new drug on the market which has proven to be very effective for his condition, and his written a prescription, saying this may be the answer.

He went to the drug store to have it filled, and the friendly clerk returned with a months supply, saying "That will be $1,064 please."

My friend, not unlike myself, is paying about $6,500 (individual coverage) a year for health insurance, which is supposed to be comforting if you have chronic or unexpected health problems. It is unlikely his insurance will pay for this treatment, or if it does, the benefits will be drastically reduced.

My insurance is going up about 14% this year, a pattern of increase costs for several years, although some years the percentage has been higher.

My insurance policy says the company pays for certain drugs, and I must research their web site for the proper "formulary," (their approved list) after a prescription is written. If the medication is a no-no on the formulary, I make a trip back to the Doc, whom may not be of my choosing, but one approved by the insurance company - or I can diagnose myself before I see the Doc, research the proper medication, check to see if my insurance will pay for it and hope the Doc agrees - in the lucky event he does, I can then have my prescription filled, provided I go to a pharmacy approved by, you guessed it, the insurance company.

This is part of a managed care system that ''holds the costs down." Managed care, sub-divisions or administrative arms of the insurance company, spends far more money managing and making money than they provide in patient services. Health care costs have skyrocketed for years, far beyond inflation or customary money making

The managed care companies have become big money makers, doing what their insurance company owners should have been doing themselves.

It is baffling why American consumers are putting up with this run-a-way system.

American citizens can purchase the same drugs from Canada and foreign countries for a mere fraction of the cost.

Regarding pharmacy, physician and hospital services, it should be noted, they too are at the mercy of insurance companies and multi-national corporations.

Since their seems to be little national outrage, it is likely this system will continue, to be sure it will eventually collapse into the mire of greed and failure.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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