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Monday, July 10, 2017

Big Pharma gives your doctor gifts. Then your doctor gives you Big Pharma’s drugs

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.