The first-ever mandatory California drug price report reveals Big Pharma's farcical price-gouging

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PHRMA, the lobbying body for Big Pharma, says there’s nothing to see here, because these prices “do not reflect discounts and rebates for insurers and pharmacy benefit managers.”

“And for goodness sake, pay no attention to what would happen if there were a single payer!”


Why are generic drugs not sold at slightly above cost? Why don’t you make your own?

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Because it’s not that easy to make a medicine factory pop up from the ground. You need capital and a skilled workforce, plus you have to meet pretty stringent quality and safety guidelines.


You can but there’s few pharmacies that specialize in roll your own prescriptions. It’s often more expensive and time consuming to do the old fashion way at that.


I admit I didn’t RTFM the linked articles.

But it sounds like the data collected was selective. It was only from meds that had a price increase in the first quarter of this year and only for meds that increased by at least 16% since 2017. Thus it’s not a survey of all drug prices.

“[A]n overall rise of 25.8% in the median drug price since 2017” should probably have a qualifier indicating that this is a selective sampling.

I’m not saying that there isn’t a huge problem here. I’m just emphasizing that the numbers may not be measuring exactly what a casual reader might think they’re measuring.


Essentially what we’ve always known, that Big Pharma is screwing the American public.


Overpriced drugs? In my capitalist hellscape?

I guess it’s more common than I thought.


2 very important groups that work hard to prevent disclosure and the collection of accurate statistics:

  1. The NRA
  2. Big Pharma

I can’t imagine why that would be…


I can think of reasons, but on it’s own “generic drug” isn’t enough information to understand pricing pressure. All it tells you is that a manufacturer should be able to manufacture the drug without needing to recover the R&D costs. It doesn’t tell you anything about manufacturing costs, market demand, market competitiveness, startup costs for new competitors, or any other items that impact price.

What, you mean Martin Shkreli wasn’t just a bad apple?


If insulin is a thousand dollars a hit, why is no one manufacturing it for a hundred? Or ten?

Yeah a median increase of 26% when the data is conditioned on ≥16% increase says much more about the analysis than the drug prices.
Just giving the percentage that met the criteria of increased price would be more informative.

Pharma companies absolutely gouge on prices, but bad data and stats just further muddies the water and ends up helping them dismiss the data. A sound tracking of average price paid for all costumers would be much more valuable

They ARE manufacturing it for the possibility to sell it for about $100 per hit, (I don’t know if $10 would be feasible)
They just won’t sell it at that price in the USA.
Because they don’t have to. And because nobody has tried to hold them accountable for their pricing before.


Open source insulin


Insulin is extremely cheap to make. There aren’t even any licensing fees because John Macleod thought it would be too unethical to make a profit from it.


It’s a shame that opinion isn’t widely shared among the drug manufacturers. Or people in charge, in general. Ethics. What a concept.


According to Katherine Eban’s book “Bottle of Lies”, those quality and safety guidelines seem to be treated more like vague inferences.

I’m honestly surprised that they had the nerve to mention PBMs.

Funny story about that dishonest and dysfunctional little corner of the ‘market’ for medical matters.

It is apparently not particularly uncommon for a patient copay to exceed the PBM reimbursement rate(with the PBM pocketing the difference); or for pharmacists to be forbidden to warn patients when they could do better just paying cash.

Yeah, the fact that it’s a middleman, rather than the drug manufacturer, getting the cut may make them feel hard done by; but it’s a terrible thing to mention if trying to give the impression that any given patient, potential patient, friend/family member/etc. of a patient shouldn’t be actively considering burning the whole thing down.