Prescription drugs. You can’t afford to live without them and you can barely afford to buy them. So it goes with many Americans who are forced to choose between eating well or staying alive. Trump was working on the problem but his efforts, unfortunately, got cut short, and the current administration appears to have little interest in carrying the torch. Fortunately though, American’s still has the initiative and wherewithal to tackle their own country’s problems with or without their president’s help, and here’s how we’re already conquering this one.
Throwing their hands in the air at Washington’s lack of action, nonprofit groups, new startup companies, and U.S. hospital groups have started mixing up their own drug recipes. They know what’s in the stuff Big Pharma has been cooking up and they have access to all of the ingredients. They’ve already been able to drastically reduce prices and make up for crucial shortages in the areas in which they currently operate.
Since the private efforts are a relatively new venture, different drug producers are at different stages of development. Some are just getting geared up while others have already distributed millions of individual doses of their products to hospitals that see this as a viable alternative to paying exorbitant drug prices.
More U.S. manufacturers are expected to soon hop on board and do likewise. By next year it’s anticipated that lower cost drugs will be available at the retail level in local pharmacies. Big Pharma is already feeling the thrust of the well-deserved boot up their butts, just not enough to lower their overinflated prices. Yet…
Stacie Dusetzina, a health professor at Vanderbilt University, said, “These companies are addressing different parts of the problem and trying to come up with novel solutions. People should be able to access the drugs that work for them without going broke.” At least for certain drugs, she said this will eventually create a competitive edge that’ll force the big players to reduce prices if they plan on staying in the game.
Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, who doubles as a price expert at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital, agrees how the various new projects will absolutely lower out-of-pocket expenses for patients. As expected, there are always naysayers.
Founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs, David Mitchell, believes that all any of these new manufacturers are providing is a workaround that’ll only help in certain “niches.” He said it’s “not enough to fix a broken system.” Maybe it isn’t yet Mr. Mitchell but you underestimate your fellow patriots
To negate Mitchell’s statement, Civica RX, a three-year-old manufacturer started by a hospital consortium, has done pretty well. They may not be totally fixing a broken system by themselves, but even at this early stage they’re helping save lives by making up for critical and chronic drug shortages. Civica RX is taking care of America’s Veterans through the V.A. and they’re shipping to over 1,400 hospitals. More than 17 million patients have thus far benefited from their venture.
Civica RX chief executive Martin VanTrieste recently announced a new partnership with Blue Cross health plans and Anthem via a program called CivicaScript. They’ll begin by selecting six or seven widely prescribed and overly expensive drugs to sell generically. By 2023 their products will be available at 50,000 local pharmacies nationwide.
A few other new manufacturers are breaking into the scene as well. EQRx plans on selling its own brand of cancer and inflammatory disorder drugs at “radically lower prices.” NP2 is on the verge of releasing a much more cost-effective drug for treating cancer IV patients.
Even Walmart is helping to spearhead this drive by offering their own in-house Walmart branded insulin for diabetics. They partnered with drug manufacturer Novo Nordisk and are able to sell the insulin for half the price as they could with their previous supplier, NovoLog.
Mark Cuban? Yeah, he’s in on it too. He’s invested his money and his name into a non-profit public-benefit company with the intent of selling alternative drugs at only 15% over the manufacturing costs, with one additional caveat. You won’t need insurance to participate, and even if you do have good insurance you’ll still come out ahead by not using it. Say what you will about the guy but everyone knocks one out of the park now and then, Joe Biden being the lone exception.
We, the American people who own this country, by showing our grit and determination to getting this job done, have also proven another valid point. We’re way better off just letting a sleeping Joe lye.