Drug Prices — Predatory Pricing: at their mercy

Drug Prices

Just about all of us have to take drugs, at least, occasionally. Some of these are legal and others are not so. Some are prescription and others are over-the-counter (OTC). Some most of us don’t consider drugs like tobacco products, coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages.

Drugs are expensive, both in terms of monetary cost and the cost to our bodies and psyches.

Although my wife and I have good health insurance, which comes through her former employer, we still have to pay for these drugs.

Health insurance costs money. My wife’s former employer deducts her costs directly from her retirement check each month the same way Medicare deducts my premium from my retirement check each month. This happens the same way the federal and state governments withhold our income tax payments from our checks — just as if we were still employed.

Drugs for an instance

Drug pricing is an arcane science (i.e.: it is impossible for a reasonable person to figure out) and prices of individual drugs seem to bear no relationship to dosage or where they are on the government schedules.

  1. Qty: 30 Cash payment: $35.99 — Insurance copay: $10.00
  2. Qty: 150 Cash payment: $87.69 — Insurance copay: $20.93
  3. Qty: 90 Cash payment: $87.69 — Insurance copay: $10.00
  4. Qty: 60 Cash payment: $378.69 — Insurance copay: $25.00
  5. Qty: 60 Cash payment: $46.99 — Insurance copay: $6.93
  6. Qty: 30 Cash payment: $37.99 — Insurance copay: $14.49
  7. Qty: 30 Cash payment: $33.69 — Insurance copay: $10.00
  8. Qty: 28 Cash payment: $222.69 — Insurance copay: $50.00
  9. Qty: 30 Cash payment: $17.69 — Insurance copay: $1.51

Prescription mouthwash:

  1. Cash payment: $14.99 — Insurance copay: $6.58 (If we buy this directly from the dentist, the cost is $15 — not a bargain.)

Dental mouth paste:

  1. Cash payment: $84.99 — Insurance copay: $10.00

The Insurance copays come into effect after we’ve met minimums at the beginning of each year.

Numbers 1 – 10 above repeat each month and #11 was, hopefully, a one-time thing for me.

If we had to pay cash for the drugs we need each month, we’d have to pay about $960/month or over $11,000/year. OUCH!

As it is our totals come to about $150/month and about $1,800/year.

Quite a difference, huh?

I know some people whose drug expenses are in the high four digits/month and may even go into the five digits /month category.

What do people who cannot afford their drugs do?

Go without and die? Something needs to be done about these costs.

What to do

As individuals there is little we can do. If we choose not to pay — the drug companies choose not to give us their drugs. Not a good option.

Think the drug companies will lower their prices or adjust prices to a patient’s need and income? Yeah, right — I think I can hear their laughter from here.

We need to pressure our elected representatives to rein in drug prices dictated by these predatory entities. If our elected representatives refuse and continue to take money from these predators, we need to elect others who will.

The rich 1% of our population votes not for ideology, but for self-interest — witness the current tax reform bills before Congress. These bills are not tax reform but another massive transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1% and, via another trillion — or more — dollars in deficits, a continuing transfer of debt to our children and grandchildren.

Surely, our democracy can do better than this.

Eventually, the bottom, massive and getting poorer will rebel. The rebellion (revolution) will either occur at the ballot box or in the streets. If it occurs in the streets, the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will make sure that it is not bloodless.

We are not yet the modern equivalent to the France of 1789, but we are also no longer the United States of the Eisenhower and Reagan years.

Want to make a difference? Vote. Write. Tweet. March. But most important: VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!!!