Generic Drug Costs Soaring

It was recently reported in The National Journal that generic drugs costs are increasing at an alarming rate. In fact, during the last six months of 2013, certain essential drugs such as the antibiotic Doxycycline “spiked upwards of 1000 percent” according to a survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association. Doxycycline is the main drug used in the treatment of Lyme disease in animals and humans. Another organization, Pembroke Consulting, reported that the costs of more than a dozen drugs increased 10 fold. Also, over 75% of pharmacists polled reported large increases in their costs of purchasing many generic drugs. These costs, of course, are passed onto the consumer. The manufacturers, the drug companies, are usually blamed for the excessive price increases. Sometimes there is even a huge price differential in the dosage of the same drug. For instance, the generic drug Irbesartan, a common blood pressur e medication, was nearly $300 for a 90-day supply of the 150 mg. tablet, yet the cost of the same supply of the 300 mg. tablet was only $30.  There have been many explanations offered. Avalere health, a consulting firm, reported that the “prices of generic drugs have gone up because demand for them has risen.” The demand will go up because of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). This new health reform law will increase the demand for drugs as more people will have insurance. This will cause the prices of generic medications to rise even higher in the future. The laws of supply and demand do not work in the pharmaceutical field. The bottom line is that it is an unregulated market dictated by profit. As the major drug companies lose their patents on many drugs, they will look to make up the financial difference somehow, and the easiest way is in the drugs they already have, only the generic version of it. This is called the “patent cliff”. This “patent cliff” is affecting many major companies like Pfizer, and Eli Lilly, etc. It affects the drugs used in the veterinary profession as well, as we purchase pharmaceuticals from the same major companies.