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Overview Why Drugs Are Expensive Spiraling Drug Cost The Truth About Generics Myths and Facts
 
Why Drugs Are Expensive
 
Most countries prohibit advertising of prescription medicines to consumers. In the U.S., however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relaxed restrictions in 1997 on what drug companies could say in broadcast and print ads. Other reasons drugs are so expensive include:
 
  • Increasing volume of prescriptions
  • Changes in types of drugs used (newer, high-priced drugs replacing older, less-expensive drugs)
  • Manufacturers raising prices for existing drugs
 
Source: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit, independent national health philanthropy dedicated to providing information and analysis on health issues to policymakers, the media and the general public.)
  Did You Know...
 
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers spent about $3.4 billion in 2003 on direct-to-consumer TV, radio and print ads? These direct-to-consumer drug ads are designed to sell expensive brand name drugs.
  • Pharmaceutical companies spend twice as much on marketing, advertising and administration as on research and development, according to a July 2002 study by the consumer health organization Families USA, a non-profit advocacy group in Washington, D.C.
 
Ads can increase your awareness of treatment options. When you know the symptoms of a disease, you'll likely seek early treatment and possibly avoid more extensive and expensive treatment later.
  However...
 
  • Ads may create an artificial demand for a drug. If you need treatment, there's a good chance there are equally effective, less expensive drugs already on the market.
  • Studies show that one of every three patients will ask their doctor for an advertised drug. Seventy three (73) percent of the time doctors comply with the patient's request for medication.
  There's a good chance an equally effective generic alternative is available at much less cost.
 
 
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