Active Learning: Go chat with your local drug rep
So I was chatting with a new friend who works for a pharmaceutical company. He takes a medication that his employer makes. Recently, his company created a new version of the medicine he's taking. This new version of the medicine causes less side effects and less kidney damage, hooray! Here's the part of the story where it gets weird. I didn't record the conversation but I'll paraphrase it as best as possible: Me: "So they have a new medicine that causes less issues? That
Q: "Did you hear what Martin Shkreli said?"
This question was posed to me by a friend. My answer: "of course I did." His response: "that guy's an asshole." My response: "maybe, but he's doing what he was hired to do." Let me be clear. I don't care for folks who are so blinded by money that they trample over anyone and everyone to get more. But he was hired by a business to do what businesses do. Make money. As much of it as possible. The fact that it may have negative repercussions on people's lives is secondar
Review: "States Deny Pricey Hepatitis C Drugs to Most Medicaid Patients" – NPR
Here's yet another opportunity to see just how ridiculous our health system is. This was an article written by Jake Harper, published a couple days ago. Quick summary: a private company uses its money to make a new medication. They get it through a government process to sell to the public. They charge whatever amount they want, which is within their right. The main buyers (insurance companies, Medicaid managed care companies, and the government) then have to figure out how mu
Q: If you cause the cost of drugs to plummet, pharma won't spend money on R&D, right?
"If you cause the cost of drugs to plummet, pharma won't spend money on R&D, right?" This was a question from another anonymous post, but at least they were friendly this time. Before I answer this question fully (since I think I've alluded to it in other blog posts), I want you to take a step back and ask yourself a question: Why do drug companies make drugs? The first and feel-good answer is because they want to help people. I think this is the case for bench research. Havi
Q: What about funding research?
"So what about funding research?" This was a question I saw posted on a random forum discussing the reasons why pharmaceutical and biotech companies have meds that cost so much. In the P.S.Y.C.H. plan, there is no money for research, and I think it should stay that way. Research, in my opinion, is best left to universities with funding from the general government (in the form of NIH, NIMH, CDC, etc.). If there are entrepreneurial companies that want to create the "next best t
Review: "Runaway Drug Prices" – The New York Times
I'm so blessed to have friends who love to read. Why yes, I did see this article from The New York Times Editorial Board. My response: Yup, a drug that costs $200 one day can easily cost $1300 the next because pharmacy companies can change whatever they want. And patients can't do anything about it because it's essentially a closed market. Thus, I say open the market up. There are equally effective medications being created overseas at a quarter of the price. If you want pres
Q: Then who's going to pay for medicines?
"The costs of medications are so high. Who's going to pay for people to get their meds?" This question was posed to me by someone who currently works as a nurse in a psychiatric ER. One of the reasons medication and medical device costs are so high is because Big Pharma and Big Devices drive up the prices. We know from looking at other countries that the very same medications and technologies have huge markups here comparatively. Why is that? It's partly because we are requir