Why the Cost of Prescription Medicine is Skyrocketing
You may have noticed when you pick up your prescription at the pharmacy that the price seems to keep creeping up. According to the Wall Street Journal pharmaceutical prices have increased 9.8% in the past year. But why is this? Why are people who need medications forced to pay these crazy prices? Here are a couple of reasons as reported in a review by the JAMA Network.
The United States has higher drug prices than any other industrialized nation.
This is mostly due to the fact that “the U.S. health care system allows manufacturers to set their own prices for a given product.” Being patent-protected and having market exclusivity are to blame. Market exclusivity means a manufacturer is given "exclusive marketing rights granted by the FDA upon approval of a drug and can run concurrently with a patent or not.” Even if the manufacturer doesn't have a patent, it can run that specific market for a certain amount of time. Since these brand name drugs are protected, other companies are not allowed to make generic versions of them (and sell them for a cheaper price).