Please read the important article below about pricing of pharmaceutical products. The issue, however, is not just pharmaceutical products. We ran a story in this blog in April about the high costs of some other therapies and how venture capital firms were building the treatments, as well as setting the prices for their products and services. It is not just cancer facilities, such as the Proton Cancer treatment facilities and medical devices we reported on (Health Care Technologies, Part I. Go to search on this site and ask for Proton Cancer therapy or Health Care Technology, Part I). It is the high costs of pharmaceutical products as well.
This article in The Seattle Times is an excellent example of how pharmaceutical companies are setting their prices and what those families who have rare disorders face financially for potentially life-saving drugs. While this article focuses on pharmaceutical companies, they are not the only group that does this.
There are no teeth at either the state or federal levels to control or set prices. The companies that develop the product set the prices and then, if and once approved, states, federal agencies and insurers decide how much of that price they will cover.
This is neither sustainable nor fair.
True, most businesses set their prices. But most businesses are not in the business of saving lives. If I don’t like what a dress or a car costs, I don’t have to buy it. I have choices. But when someone has the only product on the market that could potentially save my life I don’t have a choice. I don’t want to declare bankruptcy, however, for me or a family member to live.
This happens every day, even without these so-called “orphan” drugs.
We need to devise a way to develop products, devices and medications that help people. But, we need to find a better way to fund them than leave it in the hands of people who need to get a return on their investments, which we do now.
We need to find a new way to pay for and reward research and development so that we can make the therapies affordable as well as rewarding. It is not in our interest or the company’s interest, if people cannot afford to pay for them.
More on this topic later.
Our tribute and thanks to all our many Veterans and active duty personnel and their families! Thank you for your service. In honor of my father, Cmdr. Remi C. O’Connor, who served as a naval fighter pilot off aircraft carriers in WWII in the Pacific and again in Korea.
Kathleen O’Connor (c) November 10, 2013