News Health Care: The cost of medications

mheslep

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In 2006, Pfizer made $13B on $48B of sales. In 2007, Merck made $3.5B on $24B in sales. Abbott made $3.6B on $25B in sales.

This is pretty easy to find out - these are publicly traded companies, so they have to file a form called a "10-K" which describes how much money they made. Just about every company has their 10-Ks on the web.

I'll let you decide for yourself if profits in the 15-25% range are excessive or not.
In evaluating that you'd also want to know how many companies lost money or went under, rather than looking solely at the winners after the fact.
 
In evaluating that you'd also want to know how many companies lost money or went under, rather than looking solely at the winners after the fact.
Well to be frank, don't the big fish tend to by out the little fish even if they succeed? Wouldn't be very easy to see who were the winners. Drug companies are not about being forgiving to the smaller fry, they are about profit. And of course you might say rightly so, that is how business operates.

That said though they do tend to work the system to their advantage, I gave one example with http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/jun/17/health.medicineandhealth" [Broken] where when they realised it was being used outside of that which it was developed for, so they withdrew it, researched a new drug that was pretty much the same thing but with the new trials in tow, and then charged 10000% for the R&D costs from less than £10 to £1000. They make enough money let's face it. And they launch law suits against similar but much cheaper generic drugs, which then have to be withdrawn. The big fish are healthy, who cares about the minnows?
 
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mheslep

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I'm not referring to the big or the little fish that succeed. I'm referring to those that don't, also both big and small. (General Motors lost $39Billion in '07). The large profits make all the headlines; the majority of those that fail or grind away in mediocrity do not. Yet people and capital keep investing and reinvesting in businesses they may or may not fail or lose money. Why? Because some of them do very well.
 
Ah ok, those that fail despite the system. My bad.
 

mheslep

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Given that this is the case, it is just a variation on a theme that I noted while working in the medical field: On the average, we just can't afford the miracles of modern medicine.

The cost of my dad's medical care over last thirty years rivals his lifetime income.
Undoubtedly true at the moment but I'm increasingly convinced that this need not be so, and that the chief culprit in expensive health care is .gov intervention, or illicit cooperation w/ the industry. There are so many examples of very pricey technologies that are now cheaply available - genetically created food, modern farming, jet air travel, all w/ billions of R&D behind them but produce products that reach the consumer amazingly affordably.

Fix: Abolish the silly employer tax exemption, or give it instead to individuals; deregulate the insurance industry (currently rigged by the insiders); cut back on malpractice suits; apply antitrust law to doctors and hospitals. A 'separate' health industry is already starting appear outside the govt. rigged game of the current one because its grown so expensive millions are opting out.
 

Vanadium 50

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They make enough money let's face it.
Perhaps. But if we were to somehow ban profits entirely, it would only turn the $466 tube of medication into a $375 tube. It's important to understand the basic scale of what we're dealing with.
 

mheslep

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Perhaps. But if we were to somehow ban profits entirely, it would only turn the $466 tube of medication into a $375 tube. It's important to understand the basic scale of what we're dealing with.
More likely the tube would never exist.
 

Ivan Seeking

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I have tried some alternatives in the past but none were effective. However, I'm itching to see what my dermatologist has to say about your list. :biggrin:
 

mheslep

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Wal-Mart Claims $4 Generics Have Saved Consumers $1 B
http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/03/14/wal-mart-claims-4-generics-have-saved-consumers-1-billion/

Wal-Mart’s doing a bit of chest thumping this morning, claiming that its $4 generics program has saved consumers $1 billion — $1,032,573,012.61 as of March 10, to be precise.

The company says the $4 drugs now account for 40% of all prescriptions filled at its stores, adding that nearly 30% of the cheap prescriptions are purchased without insurance.
There should be some way to see if this is effecting any of the nationwide stats on costs. Im guessing high deductible plans (HSAs) have something to do with this.
 

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