Nicole Van Groningen
The Washington Post
Originally posted June 13, 2017
Here is an excerpt:
The losers in this pharmaceutical industry-physician interaction are, of course, patients. The high costs of branded drugs are revenue to drug companies, but out-of-pocket expenses to health-care consumers. Almost a quarter of Americans who take prescription drugs report that they have difficulty affording their medications, and the high costs of these drugs is a leading reason that patients can’t adhere to them. Most branded drugs offer minimal — if any — benefit over generic formulations. And if doctors prescribe brand-name drugs that are prohibitively more expensive than generic options, patients might forgo the medications altogether — causing greater harm.
On a national scale, the financial burden imposed by branded drugs is enormous. Current estimates place our prescription drug spending at more than $400 billion annually, and branded drugs are almost entirely to blame: Though they constitute only 10 percent of prescriptions, they account for 72 percent of total drug spending. Even modest reductions in our use of branded prescription drugs — on par with the roughly 8 percent relative reduction seen in the JAMA study — could translate to billions of dollars in national health-care savings.
The article is here.