Most Americans are well aware of the rising prescription drug prices in the country. On average, it can cost about 2.5 times more than those in other Western countries. Moreover, according to the study, brand-name drugs are considered the primary driver of higher prescription drug prices.
Reasons Why Prescription Drug Prices Continue Rising
The following are the few reasons that can explain why the prescription drug prices in the U.S are skyrocketing:
Several brand-name drugs are protected against their generic competitors because of patents. Even when these patents expire, some generic drugs are costly to develop. For example, in the case of insulin, three brand-name drug manufacturers filed a lawsuit to stop the development of generic bioequivalent.
The lawsuit happened under the supervision of Congress and the government’s regulators. Furthermore, the Medicare law we currently have does not allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. This means drug manufacturers can set the price they want for their products.
Lack Of Transparency
Patients don’t have any way for them to understand what prescription drugs truly cost. Most of the time, insurance companies negotiate fixed-cost copays for their clients and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM). Under the form of offering rebates to patients, PBMs push prescription drugs’ costs even higher to get larger commissions.
It is vital to know that rebates can also benefit insurance companies and drug manufacturers by allowing them to set the price of prescription drugs even higher. Due to the lack of transparency, consumers don’t have any chance to know what drugs really cost and cannot even bother to negotiate on the prices.
The Pharmaceutical Industry
The pharmaceutical industry in the U.S tends to have a lot of mergers and acquisitions. When they do so, they acquire more bargaining power with the PBMs and are free to set prices higher. Furthermore, there is no transparency regarding these negotiations, and the costs are passed on to the insurance payers, taxpayers, government, and unfortunately – patients.
Is There Any Solution?
One of the contributors to the rising prescription drug prices is that the drug manufacturers in the country are unregulated. This means that they are free to set any price that they deem appropriate for their product, even if it gets ahead of inflation. Regulating the prices set by these drug manufacturers might help a lot in addressing the rise of costs.
Another possible solution would be getting rid of rebates. Doing so would mean that the consumer and insurance company will only pay a single price. Moreover, a chance for insurance companies to pass on rebates to their clients would also be a possible solution. This means that insurance companies will not be allowed to charge patients a percentage of the price list or to calculate the patient’s out-of-pocket costs even if the insurance company keeps on getting the rebates.
What You Can Do To Save
Below are some ways you can consider in order to afford the prescription drugs you need:
Generic drugs are cheaper copies of brand-name drugs. Both types of drugs are formulated with the same active ingredients. According to the Food and Drug Administration, generic drugs are safe and effective to consume.
It will help if you tell your doctor that you opt to consider generic drugs. That way, he can provide you with an option. Moreover, in case your doctor forgot to include a generic equivalent in the prescription, feel free to ask your pharmacists.
In most cases, pill splitting can help you save money. All you have to do is buy a double dose of what your doctor prescribed and split it. It would be best to invest $5-$10 in a pill splitter to cut the pill accurately.
Buying one 10 mg pill instead of two 5 mg pills most likely costs less. However, you should ask your doctor about pill splitting first before you decide to try this option. That way, you can make sure that it is okay to do so.
Keeping a Supply
If your doctor prescribed you medications that can go for several months, buying them in bulk can help you save money. When you buy in a larger supply, the prices of prescription drugs tend to be cheaper. Not only that, but you don’t have to refill your prescriptions as much if you choose to buy in bulk.
The prices of prescription drugs tend to vary from one pharmacy to another. It would be best to check them out and compare. That way, you will know where to buy the most affordable prescription drugs in your neighborhood.
In a Nutshell
The prescription drug costs in the U.S are quite expensive compared to other countries. Many different factors cause these. However, this does not mean that you should risk your health and skip taking your medications. It would be best to find ways on how you can save money on prescription drugs.