The Rising Cost of Prescription Drugs

If you’re like many Americans, the rising cost of prescription drugs may be costing you your health. In particular, seniors living on a fixed income with no insurance are finding it difficult to pay for necessary prescriptions out-of-pocket, and as a result, may be failing to receive the treatment they need to stay healthy. Often, the struggle can put a big strain on seniors’ finances.

But why are prescription drug prices so high, especially when most people who require medication are usually not in a financial position that allows them to afford the full price tag? The real reasons are more complicated than what you might suspect, but one thing’s for certain – drug prices have been skyrocketing.

The reason that is most often touted (by the drug companies, of course) for the high price of drugs is research and development (R&D) costs. The drug companies contest that the only way to pay for the development of new life-saving drugs – that will improve the lives of millions of Americans – is through profits from current drug sales. The high prices, they say, are merely a reflection of the spending that is necessary for the creation of newer, better drugs.

But is this the truth? Are drug companies using a large percentage of current prescription drug sales to fund R&D? If so, are the new drugs under development truly going to improve the health of the people who need them most? Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be the case.

In reality, drug companies spend more on advertising, lobbying and political contributions than they do on research and development. Most of the money you pay for prescription medication ends up in the pockets of marketers and politicians, so that you can be convinced that you need the “newer” and “better” drugs that are under development.

In addition, research and development tends to focus on more “marketable” types of drugs that the drug companies can sell to the largest amounts of people. How many times have you seen advertisements for a drug that can help alleviate such serious medical conditions as social anxiety disorder and seasonal allergies? Unfortunately, this means that most large drug companies tend to neglect the development of life-saving drugs for more serious conditions, as the numbers are not there to rake in high profits.

Developing new allergy or anxiety drugs, however, does not require massive amounts of money, as these drugs have already been developed. Neither does rehashing previously developed drugs to be marketed for a new ailment. Usually the newer drugs under “development” aren’t new at all. So even the money that is spent on R&D, it can be argued, is an unnecessary expense driven by the market more than by the country’s medical needs.

Unfortunately for the consumer, all the money spent on advertising rather than development, and providing drug information to physicians about specific new drugs that need to be marketed, makes it very likely that you will end up paying more money than you should. Also, because your doctor is only provided with information on the latest and “greatest” drugs, he/she will be more likely to prescribe you the more expensive drugs. Perhaps surprisingly, there are older versions of drugs on the market that work just as well as their updated counterparts (sometimes better) as well as generic versions of brand name drugs that come at a significantly reduced cost. Of course, the drug companies do not market these drugs and do all they can to keep generic drugs off the shelves for as long as possible.

That’s another place your money goes when you buy prescription drugs – lawyers. Drug companies spend a lot of money paying for court cases to extend the patents of certain drugs. Even though the cases are often lost in the end, court processes can take months to resolve – buying more time for the drug companies to be the sole profiteers of a particular drug. When the patent on a drug runs out, other companies are allowed to create and sell a generic version of the drug. It is usually sold for a lower price, which takes customers away from the brand name and reduces that drug company’s profits. In the end, patents are often extended anyway because the drug company finds a new application for the drug, thus artificially extending the life of the patent and keeping generics off the shelves. You end up paying more because a less expensive generic alternative is not available and you are forced to shell out for the higher priced brand name drug instead.

For the lucky people who have insurance that covers the cost of their drugs, this may be indirectly allowing the drug companies to charge more than they would if everyone had to pay full price. Because many people never see the true cost of their prescriptions, the price is not something they worry about. As a result, drug companies feel freer to raise prices and costs continue to rise. The bottom line? A large percentage of what you pay for drugs is taken as profit.

What Can You Do To Lower Your Drug Costs?

Understanding why drug costs are so high, you may feel that it is impossible to find a way to reduce them. But this simply isn’t true. There are several things you can do to make prescription drugs more affordable.

As mentioned briefly above, it pays (literally) to be informed. If your doctor doesn’t possess the knowledge regarding all the drug choices available for your condition, take initiative and conduct some of your own research. Ask your doctor if there are any older versions of the newest drug you’ve been prescribed and find out if the drug is as effective. If it can do the job just as well as its newer relation, and comes with a cheaper price tag, it won’t take you long to make a decision.

Secondly, find out if there are any generic versions of the drug you need available in your area. Generic drugs are the same drug but without the brand name price tag. This type of drug is similar to the no-name brands you find in your local grocery store. The product is exactly the same but less expensive because you’re not paying for the name (and hence the advertising).

If you are uninsured or underinsured, make sure you exhaust all your insurance options. Calculate the costs associated with purchasing an insurance plan and determine whether or not you can find a plan that will ultimately weigh in your favor. Also, find out if you can benefit from Medicare. Medicare Part D is one option you should research, although for many Americans it has actually made prescription drugs more expensive and seems to have been created to benefit the drug companies rather than the American public. The process can be confusing, but if you take the time to find out if you are one of the lucky few to benefit, it could be worth your while.

Finally, many Americans have chosen to order discount drugs online, from either American or Canadian pharmacies. American online pharmacies offer older and generic versions of drugs at a reduced cost, while Canadian operations can actually offer brand name prescriptions (or whatever prescription you require) for a significantly lower price. This is simply because the Canadian Government regulates the cost of drugs, which means you pay less at the cash register. As long as the pharmacy is licensed to conduct international pharmacy services, ordering online from a Canadian pharmacy is a safe and affordable alternative to the high cost of drugs in the U.S.

The Economic Implications of Buying Drugs Online

Although the Internet is fairly new (at least to the mainstream) online shopping has grown by leaps and bounds. Now you can buy almost anything you need, from food to fishing equipment, right through your computer. Of course, this has meant that commerce has been forced to adapt to the changing consumer landscape and some industries have been scrambling to catch up with the crowd. It is no different for the pharmaceutical industry as online pharmacies appear to be popping up everywhere you turn. The prevalence of online pharmacies is a hot topic, especially when it comes to foreign-based companies selling prescription and non-prescription drugs to Americans for lower, more affordable prices. But in addition to foreign-based online pharmacies are a growing number of U.S. based companies offering medication to Americans – making it easier and more convenient to receive much needed prescription drugs.

What impact does this reality have on the drug industry in general and are the changes positive? The answer depends on what aspect of the industry you are involved in. Essentially, pharmaceutical companies who sell their products through traditional brick-and-mortar operations are worried that online pharmacies are only going to keep growing – taking a large bite out of their piece of the pie. For the most part, although the FDA and the big drug companies talk about safety issues and the legality of cross-border drug transactions, it really all comes down to money. It’s no wonder many companies, such as Pfizer, are threatening to restrict supply to Canadian pharmacies that sell discounted drugs to Americans in an effort to scare these pharmacies out of their revenue stream.

Trends do seem to point in the direction of continual growth unless something happens to dampen the excitement the online pharmaceutical industry is currently experiencing. Since the 90’s the industry has continued to flourish. For example, sales of Canadian drugs to U.S. citizens alone have skyrocketed over the billion dollar mark in the past few years and all signs point to this trend enduring. In addition, although these numbers only represent a dollar volume of 0.35% of the total annual U.S. prescription drug market, if Americans continue to use online pharmacies to fill their prescription drug needs it will have a big impact on the industry as a whole. And of course, countries such as Canada are enjoying the benefits of a large consumer base that has a reason to bring their business north. Many American online pharmacies even offer customers the option of obtaining Canadian drugs for lower prices through their sites. As you can see, people are being given more choices than ever before when it comes to buying prescription medications. Much of the power to control drug prices is slowly being taken away from the pharmaceutical companies and put into the hands of the people that matter the most – the consumers.

Organized pharmacy groups are beginning to voice concern over the practice as they see the economic consequences of such a trend, and the whole idea of drug distribution, as well as how certain goods, services and funds are transferred across the border. The main reason many people are flocking to online pharmacies is to save money. If the pharmaceutical industry wants to stay on top of things and keep customers buying the drugs they need through U.S. sources, they will need to change with the times by facilitating the introduction of more online pharmacies that cater to the U.S. market from within the U.S. They will also need to be open to more competition within the marketplace, and most importantly, make it more affordable for the average American to purchase the prescriptions they require.

It is clear that online pharmacies, both foreign and those based in the U.S., are in a position to benefit from an ever-increasing amount of business. Individually, consumers save money on drugs and can afford to put more money into the economy through other industries. Online pharmacies usually offer more choices especially in the way of generic drugs, and make it extremely easy for patients to obtain the prescription drugs they seek. Some senior citizens find it more convenient to shop online than venture out to the local pharmacy. At the same time, most people still choose to go the traditional route and buy their drugs in their own neighborhood, which still takes up the largest part of the market.

While online pharmacies are growing at an exponential rate, it will still be some time before a major shift from buying locally to buying online occurs that will drastically alter the way the pharmaceutical industry functions. In the meantime, consumers will no doubt continue to consider the options that are most economically beneficial to them.

How To Choose A Top Drug Rehab Center

A drug rehab center is one of the most successful alternatives in order to overcome a drug addiction. If you are really determined to recover from your addiction, a treatment center has all the elements that are required to help you out in this process. A few rehab centers concentrate on particular types of drug addiction, where as other centers treat a range of drug dependencies.

Verify The Accreditation Of The Drug Rehab Center

First of all, confirm whether the rehab center is certified or not. Even though you can get good treatment from non-accredited facility as well, your probability of getting proper treatment improves if the treatment center is certified. Always select a rehab center which is certified by the JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations).

Different Treatments For Drug Addiction

The drug addiction treatment includes behavioral therapies as well as medication. The addiction treatments comprise outpatient and inpatient programs, self help groups and counseling. There are also a few rehab centers which offer programs for particular gender and age.

Medicines like buprenorphine and methadone are used to cure opiate dependency. Both the medicines perform by blocking the symptoms of withdrawal and repressing the drug cravings.

Behavioral therapies include: cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and multi-dimensional family therapy. Multi-dimensional family therapy helps to recover you by improving the performance of your family. Cognitive therapy helps you to identify, shun and deal with the situations that have the possibility to deteriorate your condition. Motivational interviewing is intended to boost your enthusiasm and inspire you to change your behavior and enter the addiction treatment.

If you are looking for a good treatment center then you should also make sure that the center offers you a detoxification program. Detoxification is an essential stage in the process of the drug addiction treatment. This process cleanses your body of the harmful drug on which the body has become dependent. When you discontinue taking the drugs, there are some withdrawal symptoms that crop up. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, nausea, depression, sweating, anger, irritability, headache and insomnia. If a facility has a detoxification program, it can offer you medicines to alleviate these symptoms.

Take A Tour Of The Drug Rehab Center

Before selecting a rehab center for yourself make sure to take a tour of the center. Have a look at the inside of the facility. Inspect all the visible regions and make sure that they are hygienic. Make yourself acquainted with the employees of the rehab center. If you need inpatient care, discover the number of patients and the number of beds the center has to offer. Make sure that the treatment center has sufficient number of skilled personnel.

Select A Drug Rehab Center Which Suits Your Budget

Different treatment centers have different budgets: go for a center that suits your budget in a good way. Do not go for the cheap rehab centers who cannot promise you to give your proper treatment. If the rehab center is highly structured and seems to suit your requirements, then investing some extra bucks would be worth it. When you are addicted to a drug, it is extremely difficult to beat the addiction. However, if a specific center can offer you the proper tools to overcome your addiction, you must get started right away.

Drug addiction treatments are not a one shot cure to overcome addiction. Drug addiction is a stubborn disease which needs long term treatment approach. Once you have decided to give up this nasty habit, you are on your road to healing. On your journey to recovery you must try not to deviate from your path. In order to reduce the risk of relapsing, you need to be involved with a support group and maintain a healthy lifestyle by getting adequate sleep and eating healthy food. Avoid going to the places or meeting the people who trigger your craving to consume drugs. Last but not the least, get proper treatment if you have any mental or medical problems. About 40 to 60% individuals who get drug addiction treatment become successful in quitting this addiction. Moreover, the drug addiction treatment programs offered by a good drug rehab center have a very stable rate of success.