BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Competition from generic medicines could bring down prices for expensive, brand-name drugs. The United States reportedly spends the largest amount of money on medicines, out of all the countries analyzed. The situation could be reversed by limiting monopolies for brand-name drugs, making market exclusivity last less and changing the requirements for coverage in government health plans.
A doctor released paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association notes that big brand medicines cost a lot more compared to generic drugs. 10 percent of all prescriptions in the United States total 72 percent of drug spending because the prescriptions contain big-brand drugs.
From 2008 to 2015, prices for generally used big-brand drugs skyrocketed by 164 percent in the United States. Dr. Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues explain – The high cost of medicines in the United States market happen because the market exclusivity is reserved to pharmaceutical manufacturers through patents and laws that prohibit competition to recreate or copy the big-brand medicines. These laws and patents sometimes offer protection from competition for more than ten years.
There are also limitations for generic drugs because studies paid by big brand drugs show generic drugs are not as effective. Generic drugs are copies or recreations of branded medicines, which basically contain the same active ingredients, but for a fraction of the price. Big pharmaceutical companies which make brand-name drugs say the higher price of their medicines is there because of research costs which are originally put into developing a certain drug. Generic drug companies do not have high research costs, as they simply copy the recipe of big brands.
High costs are generally associated with brand name medicines for rare diseases. But lately, drugs for medical problems like diabetes, cancer or even headaches have started to cost more.
A lot of novel cancer medicines start by having price tags of over 100,000 dollars for a course of therapy. The average insulin price has raised by 300 percent between 2002 and 2013.
Doctors sometimes prescribe the most expensive drugs over the cheaper ones. There have been many recent scandals involving doctors who received expensive trips for prescribing brand name drugs.
Doctors are advised to prescribe generic drugs if possible, and inform the patient about the treatment options.
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