Tuesday, September 15, 2015
As this article points out, the cost of healing or delaying fatal symptoms in healthcare is hard to determine and fraught with cost-benefit calculations. If the only regimen is a high-priced medicine for a particular condition, health care providers have to hold their breath and pay. They can scream later to the government that it is not right to hold patients and health care funders hostage to the cost. Drug companies seem to be following the path of charging whatever the market will bear, given that the market is captive to their pills. Their reasoning has long been that it is expensive to develop a new drug. Researchers go down tens of thousands of blind allies until they find a molecule that is effective and safe. Critics counter that the drug discovery process is inefficient and unnecessarily expensive. From a PR perspective, it looks like drug companies are gouging patients, and they need to do a better job of explaining why a drug costs so much. If there were more transparency in pricing, that might help, but the key in the end is lower cost and until pharmaceutical manufacturers can achieve that, they will be targets for abuse.