Once we enter the nearest drugstore, we feel devastated: some medications are very expensive, but since it’s the question of health and well-being, we have to dip into the pocket. Why do we have to overpay for brand medications? Let’s explain what the pricing policy of pharmaceutical companies is based on, and which alternatives you can resolve to.
Why do brand medications cost so much?
1. Medication Patents
By and large, pharmaceutical organizations with a patent on a drug have the exclusive right to distribute and sell it. In the U.S., such licenses keep going for a long time- 20 years. Patents are handled on the day of application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, however, that doesn’t provide the medication organization to sell the drug immediately.
To begin with, the organization must have FDA approval. Only after approval, it will have the right to sell the medication. For certain medications, that is a greater part of the 20-year patent term, during which there is no generic alternative for this medication on the market.
Since there is no rivalry, medical organizations charge whatever the market will permit to earn money. The monopoly over drug lets them have any pricing policy they want.
2. Market Exclusivity
The FDA can allow a medication organization to hold market exclusivity for a time span that differs from the patent term. That is another reason for monopolistic pricing policy. Some companies retain market exclusivity after patent expiration preventing competitors from entering the market.
Sometimes, getting a necessary medication is a matter of life and death. If a sick individual needs medication to reduce symptoms or remain alive, they will have pay to get it, regardless of whether they go bankrupt. Cancer patients are twice more often file for bankruptcy due to the crazy price of medications. The medication organizations realize that individuals genuinely need their items and will price them as high as could reasonably be expected.
4. Lack of governmental price control
The U.S. government does not discuss medicate costs with pharmaceutical companies, at least, it doesn’t control the prices of drugs as some other governments do. That clearly explains higher medication costs. Although the USA does have a few special organization to control prices (for instance, Veterans Health Administration), they cannot influence the companies and don’t work with Medicare and programs alike.
For many high-income nations, the government fully or partially covers the expenses of their residents. They have tremendous negotiating power and influence with pharmaceutical organizations to bring down medication costs and keep costs for brand-name meds much lower than in the States.
For instance, according to Oehha.org, the average cost of some certain medications doesn’t exceed the medial level in seven different countries, including France, Germany, UK, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
That doesn’t imply that other countries don’t have control and are not worried about high brand-name medication costs. The sad truth is that sometimes with government mediation, numerous countries have problems with the budget because of the price of patented drugs.
5. Patent extension strategies
Pharmaceutical producers have a lot of tricks in their repertoire to broaden their exclusive right on medication after unique patent date termination. They are perfectly aware that the restrictive right on a medication keeps a more affordable generic from entering the market.
One widespread strategy is generally alluded to as evergreening. Manufacturers acquire another patent on an item that hardly differs from the first one, for example, longer-acting formulas or blends of two existing medications into one pill. The outcome is a renewed, evergreened patent.
Brand medical organizations can also make a deal with a generic medication organization, where the previous pays the last not to release the generic. Such a scheme is often called as ‘pay-for-delay’.
Can my insurance cover it?
Insurance will regularly cover the cost of your brand name prescriptions, but it applies not to all drugs, and not all insurance types. According to statistics, around 30 million Americans don’t have medical insurance at all.
If you have a general insurance, you generally don’t pay for your drugs at the drug store. Costs are so high in light of the fact that the medication organization realizes your insurance will pay for its greater part. But you should mind that the high price of drugs can hit the insurance limits due to co-payments, deductibles, and ever-increasing premiums.
Co-pays can add up in case you’re taking more than one medication.
Overly costly medications currently can fall into a Tier 4 category which means you have to pay co-insurance, which is some part of the medication’s expense. For individuals taking these medications, the expenses can achieve several thousand of dollars per year.
How you can bring down the medication costs?
1. Request Brand Medications from Verified Online Pharmacies
The same brand medications or their foreign analogs can be cheaper in another country, so you can order them via pharmacies verified via Ihealthtran.com. The most commonly used brand-name drugs sold by international drug stores might be 50-90% less expensive than at your nearby drug store!
2. Use Drug Discount Coupons in the USA
As a rule, discount cards and coupons are amazing for generic medications yet are not so great for brands. On generics, savings can go between 50-80%. If you want to shop at your neighborhood U.S. drug store, check the options in the international pharmacies and open comparison page for your drug. At the bottom of the page, you can find a section “Discover Prices at U.S. Nearby Pharmacies.” Enter your zip code to discover the discounts for the drug in your zone.
3. Participate in Patient Assistance Programs
For too costly medications, for example, Sovaldi, Ocrevus, and Humira, you can qualify for patient assistance programs. Numerous pharmaceutical organizations offer financial help with the cost of drugs through such programs. The issue is frequently the qualification requirements. Individuals with the lowest income are usually qualified for the program, however, Americans with medium salary should also attempt to join the program – that might work. Such programs allow covering the expenses fully or partially.
Now you know the sad truth behind the price of brand medications. Unfortunately, some of them are essential for users’ lives but have no cheaper analogs due to the manufacturer’s exclusive rights. For that reason, it’s important to have medical insurance to cover your expenses. In many cases, it appears to be way cheaper than the total cost of medications required.
Some generic appear on the market after patent expiration, which means you can find a cheaper version under a different name. Don’t hesitate to consult with pharmacists and our team to find out whether you can save on medication.