There are very few things that Americans can rally around equally, despite our various backgrounds and viewpoints. One is our collective love of Bruno Mars. I mean… who doesn’t love that guy? And the other – prescription drug pricing. What gives?
When whatever pharmaceutical company-of-the-week is busted after surreptitiously trying to inflate prices by an astronomical amount, the public at large loves to flog them with disgust and reproach.
But upbraiding these companies with a lecture on human decency only goes so far. The reality is there are millions of Americans who struggle to pay for the drugs they need on a daily basis.
Well, a group of not-for-profit hospitals is trying to find a real solution to the problem of both drug pricing and shortages – they’re going to make their own generic drugs. The plan is being called “ambitious” by the CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, one of the five hospital groups involved in the initiative which, cumulatively, represent a tenth of the hospitals in the U.S.
The plan is to either contract out the work to an existing processor, or to gain FDA approval to make medicines itself. The hospital group hopes its plan can counteract some of the negative impacts of consolidation in the generic drug market, the results of which have been higher prices for hospitals and fewer choices for patients. They cite antibiotics, painkillers, and heart drugs as just some that have been impacted to the point where daily care for the sick and injured is compromised.
Additionally, the AP says the hospital group could save millions of dollars because generic drugs are relatively cheap to produce. It’s the up-front costs that have some worried, and one analyst says the group could struggle to keep up with identifying key shortages before they occur, and in getting new versions approved in time to remedy them.