Prices Prices Prices
Doctors Stop Offering Vaccines as Costs Skyrocket
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  • FriendlyGoat

    How could we possibly have a legal system which allows any corporation to prevent doctors from disclosing the cost or price of a pharma item?

    How, for that matter, do we have a legal system which allows the wholesale price of Doxycycline, a broad-spectrum antibiotic in use since the 1960s, to go from six cents a pill to over three dollars a pill in about a year’s time—when nothing has changed in the cost to make it?.

    Conservatives imagine that Obama or other liberals did these things to society. But they didn’t.

    • rheddles

      How, for that matter, do we have a legal system which allows the
      wholesale price of Doxycycline, a broad-spectrum antibiotic in use since
      the 1960s, to go from six cents a pill to over three dollars a pill in
      about a year’s time—when nothing has changed in the cost to make it?.

      Perhaps because the legal system does not set prices, the economic system does. And it uses factors like supply and demand. Cost has noting to do with price, except that to the extent cost exceeds price, a company will not long supply the product. The problem with doxycycline is undoubtedly supply and not demand. If it’s been made since the 60’s it’s not under patent protection. So I’ll bet the problem is with supply, and research would show that the legal system caused, not allowed, the supply to dwindle through frivolous litigation.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Yes. The problem is with supply. One company has cornered the market. Google this up

    • f1b0nacc1

      The problem is that pharma is doing the same thing that other companies (and the feds) do…shift costs. Doxycycline isn’t more expensive, but since pharma is losing the ability to charge more for other (more expensive drugs) in the pipeline, they are making up for it by charging more for Doxycycline. This is similar to what is happening to healthy 25 year olds being forced to pay more for health insurance to compensate for the lower rates changed to unhealthy 55 year olds.
      Conservatives (like myself) are quite well aware that health care costs as currently constituted cannot be forced down by fiat…they are like a balloon, squeeze it in one place, it expands in another. Ultimately only competition and marketplace disciplines (which WILL create some losers and some winners) will bring costs down, and even then, it won’t be pretty. If you want to pretend otherwise, fine, but don’t imagine that everyone shares this delusion.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Google the stories on Doxycycline and get back to us. You’re “speeching” without having any idea what you’re talking about.
        This is all about a legal system and who owns a right to produce.

        • f1b0nacc1

          You don’t make much of a point here. The product is in short supply (several manufacturers stopped making it), and the price went up. This is economics 101. This isn’t a terribly complicated process…
          My comments stand, when you cannot make profits in one area, you attempt to make them in others… in this case the manufacturer saw an opportunity to do so, and took action. This isn’t all that uncommon in any economy, which should it be here?

          • FriendlyGoat

            The “terribly complicated process” is that your economics 101 is supposed to be Adam Smith’s invisible hand, making the best products available at the most competitive prices. It’s not working here. Ask any doctor about this who used to prescribe this drug for MANY cost-effective uses. You have a monopoly before your eyes and don’t know that’s a problem.

  • gabrielsyme

    One odd thing about pharmaceutical policy is that conservatives are right about the big thing: that there will be reduced investment in research if drug prices are forced down; but that liberals are right about a whole slew of smaller issues, including these problems. Pharmaceutical companies should be closely regulated in terms of the way they market to doctors and advertise to the public; they should be restrained from lobbying to have their products made mandatory, etcetera.

    And while I’m not generally in favour of onerous requirements for medical insurance, I think every plan that covers children needs to cover the full cost of necessary vaccines. There are few things more idiotic than children not getting vaccines from their doctor in the wealthiest country in the world.

    • rheddles

      Regulate, regulate. Because people are just too stupid to do what they need to to protect themselves.

      Inform, inform would make a lot more sense. But it would offend campaign donors.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Regulate them and they will simply stop doing the (extremely expensive and risky) research and development that creates new drugs. With vaccines and antibiotics, this could be catastrophic, as our micro-enemies are constantly evolving.
      My wife is currently undergoing chemo, and most of the treatment she is getting (without which she would likely die) didn’t even exist 5 years ago. I don’t like the costs any more than you do (and unlike you, those costs are frighteningly real and immediate to me), but I do understand that with the sort of regulation you propose, the next generation of drugs will not be coming anytime soon.

    • Andrew Allison

      There won’t be reduced investment in research if drug prices are forced down for the simple reason that if drug companies stop investing in new drugs they’ll go out of business. What will happen is that the cost of the research will be more equitably distributed, i.e., US consumers won’t pay four times what the rest of the world does for the same drug.

  • Andrew Allison

    Isn’t the solution simply to allow pharmacists (and NPs) to administer vaccines to children?

    • Curious Mayhem

      The margins on producing “old” vaccines are thin. Without the ever-increasing regulatory burden, generic drug makers could make these cheaply. But under our current absurd system, they’re chronic money-losers.

      • Andrew Allison

        Come now! Absurd as the US regulatory environment may be, the “old” vaccines have adequate margins for the generic manufacturers. “As the piece makes clear, however, corruption, greed, and rent-seeking also factor in. Companies can game the process by which a vaccine is added to schools’ requirements, and once their product is added they can raise prices.” This has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of the vaccine. Incidentally, the argument that pharmaceutical would stop doing research if they weren’t making obscene profits is nonsensical: if they don’t have new drugs, they go out of business when the patents on the old ones expire (let’s not even get into the tweaking which has no purpose other than to extend patent life). The problem is that, thanks to the absurd US system, US consumers are subsidizing the rest of the world, most of which utilizes centralized purchasing to lower costs. The problem with childhood vaccination cost hower is that only MDs are permitted to administer them.

  • Breif2

    “Doctors who buy vaccines are sometimes required by the pharmaceutical companies to sign legal agreements that prevent them from disclosing how much the drugs cost.”

    We want you to sell our product but we forbid you to inform the potential customers of the cost.

    ‘Tis a fine line ‘tween tragedy and farce.

    But look at the bright side: autism rates will decline!

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