For this post, we wanted to share an amazing video with our readers that shines a bright light on the pharmaceutical industry’s practice of combination drug price gouging. The video was produced by Dr. Eric Bricker of AHealthCareZ.com and it highlights a couple pharma industry strategies to raise the prices they can charge. Note, this is not original content produced by DiscountDrugNetwork.com, but rather just an excellent video that we wanted to share because of how important this message is to our audience.
What is a Combination Drug anyway?
According to WikiPedia, a combination drug is a fixed-dose combination (FDC) that includes two or more active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) combined in a single dosage form, which is manufactured and distributed in fixed doses.
Why do People Take Combination Drugs?
According to that same WikiPedia article, one of the primary promoted advantages from the industry of using combination drugs is improved medication compliance by reducing the pill burden of patients. Note that pill burden is not only the number of pills needing to be taken but also the associated burdens such as keeping track of several medications, understanding their various instructions, etc.
Is Combination Drug Price Gouging New?
Combination Drug Price Gouging is not new, unfortunately. It’s not widely known or understood, however, there have been previous attempts to highlight this practice, which is just another in a long list of known price gouging strategies used by the pharmaceutical industry. As an example of a prior attempt to call attention to combination drug price gouging, there was a great, well-researched article on The Hustle, which read:
A new exposé from Axios brought to light many drug manufacturers’ practice of combining multiple generic over-the-counter medications and selling them as ‘convenience drugs’ for up to 100x more than their generic counterparts.”
What Examples are there of Combination Drugs?
According to the linked research by Axios, here are four combination drugs that industry experts have highlighted as notably pricey examples. List prices come from Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database.
Duexis, made by Horizon Pharma: $2,482 for a 90-pill bottle”
Vimovo, made by Horizon Pharma: $2,482 for a 60-pill bottle”
Treximet, made by Pernix Therapeutics: $880 for a 9-pill bottle”
Caduet, made by Pfizer: $580 for a 30-pill bottle”
How do I learn more about Pharma Industry Price Gouging?
Half of all Americans in a recent Gallup Poll had a somewhat negative or very negative view of the pharmaceutical industry.1 With the actions of executives like Martin Shkreli (the founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals who drew heavy criticism for instituting large prince increases on Daraprim), drug shortages ranging from atropine to vecuronium, and the unacceptably high prices of older medications such as colchicine, who can blame them?2 Large majorities of Americans agree that the pharmaceutical industry’s prices are too high, that their profits are too large, and that there are many ways to curb these costs.” 3
The above article goes on to describe many other known price gouging strategies used in the industry.
What can I do to avoid overpaying for Combination Drugs?
Ultimately, this comes down to doing your homework, talking with your physician, and speaking with your pharmacist. If you believe you’re being instructed to take a combination drug that is overly expensive, you should have a conversation with your doctor about your options. It’s very hard for doctors to keep track of the prices for every drug out there, so letting them know how expensive the prescribed medication is is your first step. Then, if there are alternatives that could be considered, your doctor will advise you accordingly. You should also discuss this with your pharmacist, who can aid you in finding appropriate alternatives.
Additional References for this Article
- Healthcare system. Gallup website. Accessed May 23, 2018.
- Current drug shortages. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists website. Accessed May 23, 2018.
- Public opinion on prescription drugs and their prices. Kaiser Family Foundation website. Accessed May 23, 2018.