Since Canada is not planning to start the import of its drugs to America, US residents try to find alternative solutions. Recently, Bernie Sanders (U.S. Congressperson and Democratic presidential) visited a pharmacy near the border of Canada and the USA to reveal that Americans go there to buy expensive prescription medications. Sitting in the back of a sanctioned transport sorted out by individuals from support group Insulin4All, Sanders addressed families who said they put everything on the line to get their insulin in light of high U.S. costs, frequently putting their wellbeing in danger. People admit that in a Canadian pharmacy, they can buy six months worth of insulin for less than $1,000 — the same they would pay for 1 month of insulin use in the USA. In some families, it makes for 25–50% of monthly income!
“We ought to do what the Canadians do, and that implies plunking down with the medication organizations and arranging a value,” Sanders said.
Why medications in the USA are so expensive?
Why pharmaceutical companies have practically no restrictions when setting prices for medications? Pharmacist Rachel Raentovich (RTVI company) admitted that the cost of drugs in America is constantly growing.
“New drugs are getting more and more expensive. There is a cure for Hepatitis C, its dose for a 3-month course will cost about $1,000,” — she said.
That sounds impressive, but that’s not the limit. For example, the annual course of a new cancer drug that has been approved in America recently will cost a patient $156,000! And the cure for muscular dystrophy is $ 300,000. The most expensive drug in the world is Soliris — $ 409,500/year. It helps those suffering from a rare immune system disorder. There are 8,000 people with such disease in America. Without medications, doctors predict them no more than 10 years of life. The manufacturer is not worried about the question of whether these patients will be able to pay $ 35,000 a month for the cherished injection. Indeed, there is no alternative for Soliris, but the state cannot intervene — the US authorities do not control prices.
“In Europe, it’s much cheaper, because the price of medicines is controlled by the state. There is no such control here,”said Raentovich.
“In some cases, tablets that cost a couple of dollars abroad, in America — the same tablet with the same composition, in the same packaging, made at the same factory — costs hundreds of dollars. It’s unfair, it’s outrageous and it shouldn’t be like that!” — Trump explains.
And the president is not exaggerating — American medicines can actually be cheaper outside America because they fall under the laws of the countries where they are exported. But before that, the White House owner would have to somehow sort things out with the powerful pharmaceutical lobby in Washington. The price of any pill starts with the calculation of the funds spent on developing a formula, research, clinical trials, lobbying at a Washington state agency that distributes patents, then producing advertising and promotion in the media, plus possible legal costs.
Out of every ten thousand synthesized medications, only one is brought to the level of commercial sale. It takes about 10 years of work and an average of $ 2.5 bln. When the new drug goes from the laboratory to a pharmacy, the manufacturer who received the patent becomes actually a monopolist in its production and sets prices at its discretion. But pharmaceutical companies, like doctors, should save people, and not kill them by unbearable prices.
The most famous example is the Turing Pharmaceuticals case. Having bought the rights to the medicine Daraprim — it is used in the treatment of parasitic infections and among other things is prescribed for patients with HIV — the next day the company increased the cost of the drug by 4000%: from $ 18 to $750 per pill. Such impudence outraged the whole country, and under pressure from the public, Turing lowered the price — but only to $ 375. In the UK, the same medicine, albeit from another company, costs only 60 cents. In America, there is no such cheap alternative to this medicine, and no generic versions.
For headaches, many Americans take Advil. TV ads claim that this is the fastest and most effective remedy for headaches. But it turns out that, succumbing to advertising, people overpay huge amounts. Advil is actually ordinary Ibuprofen, which stands nearby, on the same shelf, but costs half the price. This is called by pharmacists a ‘generic’ — a cheap analogue of a patented drug.
According to doctors, there is usually no difference between a patented drug and its cheaper analog. However, not all medicines have such an analogue. Patents in America can be kept from 5 to 12 years. And only when it outdates, the drug becomes available for mass production of a cheaper generic. Reducing the term of a patent would be beneficial for buyers, but not manufacturers: at the time generic goes on sale, branded medicine loses 80% of sales.
“America is the place where we are trying to maintain a balance between research funding and the development of new drugs, while curbing the onslaught of cheaper competitors,” said Chip Davis, spokesman for the pharmaceutical company.
Therefore, the interests of the pharmaceutical giants on Capitol Hill is represented by a powerful lobby — in terms of influence it is compared with the armory.
US government appears to be powerless
Democrats trying to take the White House in 2020 admit that President Trump as powerless against criticism on medicinal services costs, since his government has neglected to push through a few initiatives to lower medication costs. Over the past 10 years, more than $ 2 billion has been spent on promoting the interests of drug manufacturers. The investment paid off: 15 times the Congress introduced bills to lower the price of medicines, but none of them was ever check out by the relevant committees. A few U.S. states have passed laws to permit huge scale imports, yet shipments would not be legitimate without government endorsement. The Health and Human Services secretary said toward the beginning of July the legislature was taking a gander at the issue.
Reuters detailed not long ago that Canadian authorities have cautioned the United States they would restrict any imports that raise medication costs or cause deficiencies in Canada. The battle between US government and pharmaceutical companies is far from ending. Medication makers state they need to raise U.S. rundown costs to help counterbalance huge discounts they should offer to provide medications covered by insurance plans. The U.S. government should set medication costs dependent on the normal costs in six different nations, including Canada, Sanders said. He likewise called again for the United States to permit social insurance suppliers and others to import medications to diminish costs.
“I am sure we ought to have the option of import from the United States from Canada, and from different nations, FDA-affirmed drugs, which would significantly lower costs,” he said.
While pharmaceutical companies transport their medications across the borders, they set various costs in various nations, and different organizations are commonly not permitted to import medications implied for different markets.