August 1, 2019 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Diabetes , Health issues
If there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s that long-term solutions trump short-term solutions every time.
So many of our country’s problems come from people who think a Band-Aid will take care of a hemorrhage.
Think of how Obamacare completely covers up the REAL problems in our healthcare system…
Ideally, we wouldn’t need mass-produced insulin in modern America. If we had healthier lifestyles and ate less sugar and processed carbohydrates, then we wouldn’t have the type 2 diabetes epidemic we have today.
But, unfortunately, we’re stuck with it for the time being. And even then, there are those with type 1 diabetes who will ALWAYS need insulin treatments.
The problem is, insulin is crazy expensive. We all know prescription drugs cost a lot of money, but this is on another level.
Back when Frederick Banting discovered insulin, his co-workers James Collip and Charles Best, sold the patent for one measly dollar on ethical grounds.
Since then, the cost has increased by a THOUSAND percent. And the rate of increase has even gone up –in the last 10 years, the price of insulin has TRIPLED.
Numbers may seem abstract, but this affects REAL people in America today.
Laura Marston had to spend $2,880 a month just to stay alive, and despite working 50 hours a week, she couldn’t afford it. She had to sell her car, her furniture, her retirement fund and her beloved dog.
Her medicine had increased from $21 per vial to $275. She had to pack everything up and move, leaving all her memories and home behind…
Alec Smith died after he aged out of his mother’s health insurance plan. He had a full-time job but simply couldn’t afford the drugs…
This is the human face of our rotten system. This isn’t some Trump-era fake news, it’s real, and it kills people.
HOW YOU CAN FIX OUTRAGEOUS DRUG PRICES
In order to get out of this mess, there are indeed short-term solutions that you yourself can do to reduce your price burden.
For a start, you can use goodrx.com and blinkhealth.com, which offer discounts on most drugs.
Drug companies also deliver their drugs in ways that aren’t cost efficient at all. There are ways to get the drugs you need by using generic versions of your drug, or you could even use a combination of cheaper ones to get the same effect.
And finally, you could make a statement by rejecting the US entirely. As I said, most other countries have the same drugs we have at a lower price. So why not search overseas? Air travel is cheaper than ever, and bulk buying costs far less.
You may not even need to hop on a plane. If you live close to the border, a bus ride to Mexico could be right up your alley…
HOW WE CAN FIX OUTRAGEOUS DRUG PRICES FOR EVERYONE
If we’re going to reduce drug prices in the long term, the key is to understand why drugs are so expensive…
Colorado signed a bill into law in May that limits co-pays for insulin to $100. While this certainly looks interesting as a way to give patients breathing space, it doesn’t fundamentally solve the problem.
The reason why drugs are so expensive is that our system demands it.
On the one hand, we have a drug industry the government has run into the ground.
They over-regulate the drug development process on the grounds of ‘safety’. That sounds nice, but it just has the effect of making drugs more expensive to produce and increases the amount of time it takes to bring them to market.
And then there’s the patent system, which makes it more profitable to rebrand old drugs and gain monopoly power. Same level of treatment, different cost.
On the other hand, we have a third-party insurance system. Most countries in the world have a government agency to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, Medicare explicitly prohibits such negotiations.
The US doesn’t really have that. Trump has initiated some negotiations, but there’s still a lot of work to do.
The result? Pharmaceutical companies can charge whatever they like. And when you have a big government program like Medicare, they seemingly have an unlimited money tree.
Cue the US government having a great big hole in their finances.
Cue insurance companies and drug companies in a cold war of trying to stymie each other to save costs.
Cue the patient suffering the backlash through higher drug prices…
What we really need is massive deregulation of the pharmaceutical industry, proper competition, and a direct payer system. It’s the way costs have come down in other industries, so why don’t we do the same with health care?
Vested interests, that’s why. Healthcare companies know people will always need their goods and services, so it makes sense to use government for their own gain.
Politicians constantly say how awful our healthcare system is, but they don’t do anything to fix it. They just shift the blame around and construct policies that don’t get to the heart of the problem.
The thing is, it’s inherent in the system. You can take steps to reduce your price burden in your own personal life, but if we really want to make the US healthcare system work well, we need to completely dismantle the shoddy system that exists today.