Monday, August 30, 2010

Drug ads stick it to the public in the end!

Has anyone ever noticed how many drug ads there are these days on the boob tube? One evening, I counted something like twelve in a two hour period. As I sat on the couch in a sort of trance, it occurred to me that someone was sure spending a boatload of money on advertising for a product that only a doctor could proscribe. Could it be, I wondered, that doctors somehow also benefited from the association? Just how much extra profit does a doctor receive if he takes the advice of a patient and orders a brand name drug as opposed to a much cheaper generic drug that performs the same function?

A little research turned up the interesting fact that the pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development. Now why would that be? Hmm. Next time you’re at the doctors, make sure you ask for the difference in cost between a labeled drug like Nexium at $100 for thirty tablets versus the generic equivalent for $50. If it’s a Medicare deal, who pockets the difference and who really pays the cost?

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