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  1. TopTop #1
    Zeno Swijtink's Avatar
    Zeno Swijtink

    Drug Prices Up 100% - or Higher

    Drug Prices Up 100% - or Higher

    Drug companies are quietly pushing through price hikes of 100% - or even more than 1,000% - for a very small but growing number of prescription drugs, helping to drive up costs for insurers, patients and government programs.

    The number of brand-name drugs with increases of 100% or more could double this year from four years ago, researchers from the University of Minnesota say. Many of the drugs are older products that treat fairly rare, but often serious or even life-threatening, conditions.

    Among the examples: Questcor Pharmaceuticals last August raised the wholesale price on Acthar, which treats spasms in babies, from about $1,650 a vial to more than $23,000. Ovation raised the cost of Cosmegen, which treats a type of tumor, from $16.79 to $593.75 in January 2006.

    The average wholesale price of 26 brand-name drugs jumped 100% or more in a single cost adjustment last year, up from 15 in 2004, the university study found. In the first half of this year, 17 drugs made the list.

    "This does drive up the price of health care," says Alan Goldbloom, president of Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. "Hospitals are either eating the cost or passing it along to insurers, so you and I are paying it in increased premiums."

    Some of the drugs are administered in hospitals, which bill insurers, patients or government programs for them. Insured patients pay either a flat dollar amount, such as $20, or a percentage of the drug's cost.

    Last year, prices rose about 7.4% on average for 1,344 brand-name drugs, according to Express Scripts, which manages drug benefits for large employers and insurers.

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., asked the Government Accountability Office last week to investigate large price hikes. Klobuchar asked the Federal Trade Commission in April to investigate Ovation Pharmaceuticals, which raised prices on four drugs in 2006 by up to 3,436%.

    Drug companies say the price hikes cover the costs of keeping the drugs on the market. They say the drugs are often less costly than alternative treatments, such as surgery or newer, high-tech medicines.

    Questcor says on its website that it had to raise Acthar's price after struggling for years to "keep (it) financially viable."

    Ovation says it needed to cover its 2005 purchase of the drugs and facility upgrades. "We feel we made an important investment in keeping these older products alive," says spokeswoman Sally Benjamin Young.
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  2. TopTop #2

    Re: Drug Prices Up 100% - or Higher

    While I am not for government interference into private enterprise, after reading about this,

    consideration for testicular removal for the CEO of Questcor could be considered in a reasonable debate.
    When the issue began to surface the company moved to have The Big Boys (government & insurance agencies) else pay for their greed. That in itself is a problem, but there is no excuse for what they did in their overnight decision.
    Thanks, Z, it was an interesting Google for the drug, and there weren't a lot of sales pitches from ebay or the groups that are usually hanging out on the right side of the G-screen.
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