The cost of bringing new medication to the market is high and getting higher because of the complexity of the research. Foreign countries and those groups who can bargain for lower bulk prices are not paying their fair share. The rest of us in the United States must carry the entire burden. That is why patients buy drugs from Canada and other countries which do bargain.

Social Security Part D is a sham. It does not allow for the group to bargain for lower prices. So, the government requires the seniors to pay an unfair share for research. This makes the drug companies Billions of dollars at the expense of the elderly. The drug companies wrote the law. It is expensive to administer and too complex for anyone to understand. Part D does not save seniors enough. After a certain amount of benefits, typically $2400, no benefits are given, so the patient pays for all his or her medication until they have paid $3600 out of pocket. This is known as the donut hole. Social Security part D must be totally revised!

Another factor which causes the cost of medication to be so high is the secondary advertising. It costs Billions but is cost effective for the drug companies because patients demand that physicians prescribe that specific drug for a disease which they might not even have. If they have the disease another less expensive drug may be as effective or even more effective and may be safer. Most physicians dislike this advertising. We are all sickened by the ads for drugs to treat gastrointestinal and sexual disease on TV while we are eating dinner. This advertising should be outlawed.

Other causes of high cost of medication are the visits of drug company representatives to physicians. They take their valuable time trying to get them to use their expensive drugs. They give them samples or valuable gift or even wine and dine them. They do, to some extent, educate physicians. Some of the top medical organizations do not allow them on their premises. Also, researchers who have gotten grants from companies often promote the drug which they know is not superior or as safe as those already available

Albert A. Gabel
Professor Emeritus
Ohio State University