The cost of pharmaceuticals

Turtle

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Jun 8, 2005
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#1
I’ve been working for a pharmaceutical company for the past eight years so I know a thing or two about a thing or two about the cost of drugs. MM made some valid points about drug costs; drug companies do negotiate with insurance companies for Rx cost and co-pay amounts, the cost to make a pill is usually under 50 cents, there are generic meds that often do the same job as name brand counterparts, and in many countries meds are free and provided by the government. Let me take each point one at a time and give you another side of this argument.

Cost. When a new drug is about to be approved by the FDA, on average 8 years of R&D and government regulation have already been invested before the first pill is Rx by a physician. The company I work for has a new drug about to come out in Dec for schizophrenia. The company has invested seven years in R&D, patent process, and FDA approval costing a little more than $170,000,000. If the drug is not approved then all that investment is a loss. So the cost of the first pill is huge, the cost of the second pill is nothing in comparison. Also our patent life starts the day that we tell the FDA about our drug, not the day it is approved.

Insurance company negotiations. Large companies like Blue Cross often create a list of meds they want patients to use because they have negotiated with a drug company for a better price. The same can be said of any large organization, they negotiate with vendors to get the best possible price.

Generics. A few reasons that generics are not used; not as efficacious as name brand, may cause an adverse reaction with another medication, lack of experience by the physician.

Government. We could have the government pay for our meds like they do in England & France, we could also pay more than half our earnings in taxes.
 

Hoagie

I suggest you tread lightly
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Mar 24, 2004
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#2
So what cost more in R&D? The average drug? Or the cum filled eclair?
 

agentjmw

Clayton Townly Businessman
Jul 13, 2005
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#3
Also you could wait two months to have an operation to treat cancer like my father in law because there are not enough Doctors. He had to wait two months in Canada to get operated on. Also had to go an hour and a half each way to get chemo 3 times a week in Canada.
 

Hoagie

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#4
Socialized medicine stinks. The quality of healthcare in Canada pale's in comparison with the US. It's just a question of affording health care in the US. And I know more then a few people in the pharmacuetical field. I live in one of the hotspots in the US for pharmacuetical companies. I understand the astronomical amount of money tha goes into getting a new drug on the market. However I've also been in many of the multimillion dollar facilities that these drug companies have built from the ground up and maintain. So they are obviously making a fuckload of money. It's like the oil industry. They both provide something that the general public cannot go without. They both have to deal with high overheads. But the both make insane profits and refuse to compromise their profits to find a happy medium between profit and affordability.
 

Turtle

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Jun 8, 2005
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#5
I understand the astronomical amount of money tha goes into getting a new drug on the market. However I've also been in many of the multimillion dollar facilities that these drug companies have built from the ground up and maintain. So they are obviously making a fuckload of money. It's like the oil industry. They both provide something that the general public cannot go without. They both have to deal with high overheads. But the both make insane profits and refuse to compromise their profits to find a happy medium between profit and affordability.
Good point, my company has a huge corporate office on about 20 acres of lang with gardens, walking paths, green green lawns and a few very modern buildings. The place looks like a compound with hig walls and security all over the place. Also I get a new car every year, stock, new laptop (only three weeks old) every other year...the list goes on. A bit less of the TV ad's a bit less of the othern unecessary costs and prices will fall.

The problem is that peoples health is involved, so we are expected to act like we are not a business. There is room on both sides for improvement
 

Glenn Dandy

THE ONLY WHITE PRESIDENT LEFT.
Mar 21, 2005
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#6
gas, oil company//// drug company.... same thing...insane money.Insane profits.

sure turtle they put out gobs of cash... especialy to the presidential canidates...you will not convince me they arent filthy rich and gouging.

I worked 6 months building a merc facility... million dollar vessles , hundreds of them.... like i said insane amounts of money.. or they couldnt be so so so huge.

Christ they control the government... how much does that cost? if you want proof I can give it to you.
 

Hoagie

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Mar 24, 2004
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#8
The problem is that peoples health is involved, so we are expected to act like we are not a business. There is room on both sides for improvement
I know that no corporation is ever going to be willing to cut their own profitability just to help out the common fella. There are very few times I would agree with the government stepping in to regulate an industry and their profit making abilities. But essential industries like energy, medical, and insurance companies should be tightly regulated. That's not to say that they wouldn't be able to turn big profits. They just would have to do it in spite of ridiculous spending. What kind of spending? Well I was at the Wyeth research center building the other day (I have an ATM in there I service) and I had to walk probably a fifth of the length of the building. In that walk I passed no less then 12 42 inch plasma TVs in the halls promoting their comapny and their products....and the only people there are employees of Wyeth.
 

oafanwyo

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#9
However I've also been in many of the multimillion dollar facilities that these drug companies have built from the ground up and maintain. So they are obviously making a fuckload of money.
If you have been in many multi-million dollar facilities that mean they are reinvesting their money into the company.


I think that they should drop the price of these drugs but whenever you purchase the drug you should also a bill for a percentage of the R&D for the drug along with the drugs that did not make it to market. If we take away the profit these companies are going to cut down or stop the research they are doing.

I have noticed that most people that comment about companies making too much money are people that don't seem to understand business or economics. In allot of instances the government is as big (if not bigger) of a profiteer then the company.

My wife had complete kidney failure 10 years ago due to an autoimmune disease those 10 years before that had a 95% mortality rate. Due to Cytoxan she has been able to live a good life.

Pharmaceutical companies keep up the good work!!!!!!!
 

Turtle

WACKBAGGER
Jun 8, 2005
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#10
I know that no corporation is ever going to be willing to cut their own profitability just to help out the common fella. There are very few times I would agree with the government stepping in to regulate an industry and their profit making abilities. But essential industries like energy, medical, and insurance companies should be tightly regulated. That's not to say that they wouldn't be able to turn big profits. They just would have to do it in spite of ridiculous spending. What kind of spending? Well I was at the Wyeth research center building the other day (I have an ATM in there I service) and I had to walk probably a fifth of the length of the building. In that walk I passed no less then 12 42 inch plasma TVs in the halls promoting their comapny and their products....and the only people there are employees of Wyeth.
Ever been to the Coke HQ in Atlanta? Crazy big and over the top fancy. I understand what your getting at, and I agree with you that as an industry we need to more aware of our image. But let me put this out. Every pharma company that I know of gives away free of charge any meds a patient might need if they make less than x dollars per year. In my companies case the # is $26,000 (full time job). Name for me another industr that gives away its product to people who can not afford to pay for it.
 

MetalSign

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Dec 22, 2002
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#11
Do you work for Umbrella corporation??? Cause if so, that'd be soooooo cooooool!!11one!


But seriously. How long has it been since a new vaccine was discovered/researched. I mean big time R&D. The reason is because there is no money in it. It's all profit based. For example:

Rx vaccine: taken once (for entire life coverage) for a cost of say... $500, billed to the insurance company. You will never have polio/smallpox/etc

Rx cholesterol/dick pill/etc: taken once a day/once a week/etc for a cost of $500 billed to insurance every MONTH.

The prices are meant to be arbitrary, obviously with insurance, you don't pay those prices.

The sad fact is so much more money can be gained from non-vaccine medicine.
 

oafanwyo

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#12
Ever been to the Coke HQ in Atlanta? Crazy big and over the top fancy. I understand what your getting at, and I agree with you that as an industry we need to more aware of our image. But let me put this out. Every pharma company that I know of gives away free of charge any meds a patient might need if they make less than x dollars per year. In my companies case the # is $26,000 (full time job). Name for me another industr that gives away its product to people who can not afford to pay for it.
:clap::clap::clap::clap:


How about that f*%$ing CNN complex in Atlanta??? Thank you for bringing up the point about the free drug programs that are out there. With a little effort you can find this information out. We found out from a social worker about them. It pisses me off when you hear somebody taking about how they can't afford there drugs and when you ask them if they have looked into any of these programs they have not made any effort.
 

Hoagie

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Mar 24, 2004
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#13
The thing is, if you can't afford it, you never need to buy Coke or get cable for CNN. I'm not saying that there isn't any effort made by drug companies. But the costs associated with drugs and the obscene amount of money drug companies are making is a major contributing factor to the current health care crisis. Not the only one. But it is one.
 

oafanwyo

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#14
Rx vaccine: taken once (for entire life coverage) for a cost of say... $500, billed to the insurance company. You will never have polio/smallpox/etc

Rx cholesterol/dick pill/etc: taken once a day/once a week/etc for a cost of $500 billed to insurance every MONTH.

The prices are meant to be arbitrary, obviously with insurance, you don't pay those prices.

The sad fact is so much more money can be gained from non-vaccine medicine.
You can't vaccinate againist everything. In a perfect world one shot would keep us alive and well forever but we are along ways from that!! People have been taught that everything can be treated and cured but at this point in history it is not the case.
 

Turtle

WACKBAGGER
Jun 8, 2005
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#15
But seriously. How long has it been since a new vaccine was discovered/researched. I mean big time R&D. The reason is because there is no money in it. It's all profit based. For example:

Rx vaccine: taken once (for entire life coverage) for a cost of say... $500, billed to the insurance company. You will never have polio/smallpox/etc

Rx cholesterol/dick pill/etc: taken once a day/once a week/etc for a cost of $500 billed to insurance every MONTH.

The prices are meant to be arbitrary, obviously with insurance, you don't pay those prices.

The sad fact is so much more money can be gained from non-vaccine medicine.
We are indroducing a cell based flu vaccine next year. Rather than have the vaccine come from chicken eggs, we will be able to take cells of the flue and go from that point...the aplication will work for other pandemic needs as well. But I get your point about polio/smallpox...no mone in it.

Now cholesterol/BP meds are being combined to save patients co pays. IE- an ACE/ Statin combo or a statin/fibrate combo or a fibrate/metforman combo all are in the works now.
 

Turtle

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Jun 8, 2005
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#16
:clap::clap::clap::clap:


How about that f*%$ing CNN complex in Atlanta??? Thank you for bringing up the point about the free drug programs that are out there. With a little effort you can find this information out. We found out from a social worker about them. It pisses me off when you hear somebody taking about how they can't afford there drugs and when you ask them if they have looked into any of these programs they have not made any effort.
In most cases a patient will need a valid Rx, last years tax return and a fax #
 

oafanwyo

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#17
The thing is, if you can't afford it, you never need to buy Coke or get cable for CNN. I'm not saying that there isn't any effort made by drug companies. But the costs associated with drugs and the obscene amount of money drug companies are making is a major contributing factor to the current health care crisis. Not the only one. But it is one.

You forgot the biggest part of this "health care crisis". The lawyers!!!!! The million-dollar lawsuit is common anymore. From that the lawyers get about half and then take all there expenses out of your portion. Do you know whom much the handful of lawyer that worked on the tobacco lawsuits made???

"Perhaps a thousand dollars"
"Maybe a little more than that Jimmy"

Of the money that each state got from that most states did not use it for healthcare they used it to balance the budgets or fund projects that they wanted to get done.
 

Hoagie

I suggest you tread lightly
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Mar 24, 2004
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#18
The malpractice suits are another major part of it. Although I don't think the tobacco lawsuits qualify. But I don't think the lawyers are just as big, but no bigger, a part of the problem then the drug companies and the insurance companies.
 

Turtle

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Jun 8, 2005
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#19
The thing is, if you can't afford it, you never need to buy Coke or get cable for CNN. I'm not saying that there isn't any effort made by drug companies. But the costs associated with drugs and the obscene amount of money drug companies are making is a major contributing factor to the current health care crisis. Not the only one. But it is one.
The cost to recoup $ invested in a drug could be extended if a patent was from the date of FDA approval, not from the dat of NDA (New Drug Application) it would add about 7 years to the patent life.
 

oafanwyo

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#20
Just using the tabacco lawsuits as an example of the abuse of our courts in this country.
 
S

Super

Guest
#21
When a new drug is about to be approved by the FDA, on average 8 years of R&D and government regulation have already been invested before the first pill is Rx by a physician...company has invested seven years in R&D, patent process, and FDA approval costing a little more than $170,000,000...
Didn't work out so well for Vioxx and a couple of others, did it? I say screw FDA approval and do R&D on sick people under bridges.

If nothing else, $170,000,000 could buy a lot of pot, booze and hookers. That's a bunch O' Smiles.
 
J

jcase28

Guest
#22
Now cholesterol/BP meds are being combined to save patients co pays. IE- an ACE/ Statin combo or a statin/fibrate combo or a fibrate/metforman combo all are in the works now.
Don't get too excited about fibrates after what happened to Pfizer! They're an example of exactly why so much money needs to go into R&D, as they didn't do enough testing/clinical trials of torcetrapib before releasing it. Now they're royally fucked, while the other companies working on fibrates got to learn what not to do.

That being said, you've made some great points in this thread. I work in research as well (non-profit based chol. lab, but we do work with big corp.'s), and couldn't have said it better myself. :clap:
 

Turtle

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Jun 8, 2005
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#23
The malpractice suits are another major part of it. Although I don't think the tobacco lawsuits qualify. But I don't think the lawyers are just as big, but no bigger, a part of the problem then the drug companies and the insurance companies.
What about the patient. "Dr I'm not willing to eat right or go on a diet, give me a pill or three to keep my fat ass alive."
 

Mags

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Oct 22, 2004
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#24
I used to work at a major pharm-co and they had posters all over the walls saying it takes $900,000,000 (that's nine-hundred-million) and ten years to bring a drug to market AFTER it has been developed in R&D.

This is due to the extensive testing required by the FDA, according to the company.

This could be one of the reasons few new drugs are developed?
 

Turtle

WACKBAGGER
Jun 8, 2005
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#25
Don't get too excited about fibrates after what happened to Pfizer! They're an example of exactly why so much money needs to go into R&D, as they didn't do enough testing/clinical trials of torcetrapib before releasing it. Now they're royally fucked, while the other companies working on fibrates got to learn what not to do.

That being said, you've made some great points in this thread. I work in research as well (non-profit based chol. lab, but we do work with big corp.'s), and couldn't have said it better myself. :clap:
Fibrates have been aroud for years...Tricor is a huge drug and getting bigger. As Dr's move away from lopid/gimfib they are using Tricor in combo with statins more and more because fibrates don't affect CYP450 & inhibit glucaronidation. I know no indication is out there, but also no contra indication. However fibrates in some patients have been shown to increase LDL if Tg are >500...but if your Tg are over 500 it's ard to get a real total C reading, let alone the sub fractions.