Drug prices to plummet as patents expire

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  • CougarKeith Roy, UT
    July 27, 2011 7:03 a.m.

    Wha, Wha, Wha!!! Let's all cry for these people!!! Fact: I used to have this problem back in the 90's and into the early 2000's, my drugs cost about $428 a month if I recall and my disability pay was then about $872 I believe. I have a severe Traumatic Brain Injury and couldn't qualify for medicaid, medicare didn't have drug coverage at the time I am talking about, and so I lived on a sail boat on the great salt lake, rent was $75 which included power. I used about $35-40 a month for food, paid tithing, gas from the marina to Salt Lake or Magna, car insurance and everything else didn't leave much. Along came Intermountain Health Care to save the day, they gave me my medication for over 2 years at a cost of $25 to me as "My Share", plus paid my back Dr. Bills! There is help out there if you know where to find it, and I didn't know, but my caring Doctor's secretaries KNEW how to get me the help I needed! Maybe not all Medical Companies are like that, I know U of U definately isn't, but Help is out there!

  • Indian Expat Bangalore, Karnataka
    July 25, 2011 11:32 p.m.

    Mountanman: Hear Hear! I mostly agree with your argument. The big companies are the research centers and, for every drug that passes the FDA, probably hundreds fail. So they are not only recouping the costs of that one successful drug, but also for hundreds of failed drugs. While I definitely cheer the free market and the generic market, I still do appreciate what the big companies do for us in the long run.

    Tenx: Yes! I live in India and it's the same here as well. It seems then that the high cost to recoup the investment stays only in the US and is not borne in foreign markets. I wonder why that is. It's been so nice to have cheap medication here (and cheap medical care). So cheap, in fact, I haven't even worried about running anything through my insurance company yet.

    The truth: since when did this discussion become an attack on liberals? One track mind I see. The big pharma companies may yet come out with a med that can cure that for you. It must just be horrible to reduce every discussion to a political debate.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 25, 2011 7:48 p.m.

    RE: CHS 85

    Reviewing th efinancial report, your numbers are wrong.

    while they di have nearly 18 billion net income.

    13 billion went to expenses, 1.6 billion to income taxes.
    leaving about 4.5 billion actually income, to grow the company and invrst in research,
    so your number are wrong, and things not so obscence afterall, as you make them out to be.

    also notice in the report most of the money comes from the sales about dozen medicines, a dozen medicnes support everything including all the jobs that company provides,

    very few medicines provide any profit, no wonder some are so expensive.

    sorry, businesses act like businesses, they are not charities.

    they must be profitable or they can provide you nothing and they can provide no jobs.

    things sre not so simple as liberals make them out to be.

  • ParkCityAggie Park City, Ut
    July 25, 2011 6:26 p.m.

    I knew I would read this article and see the comments "Big Pharma" somewhere. I wasn't disjointed. What? Perhaps some (name your Utah magical miracle juice here) or some other snake oil would do the trick and "magically" cure all of our ailments right? Big pharma indeed!

  • goodDr. sandy, UT
    July 25, 2011 5:41 p.m.

    "Finally we can start eating out again" Might just be a reason why you are having to take Lipitor. The majority of people on high blood pressure, cholesterol, and type II diabetes meds can get off of them with some self-control and daily monitoring of how much you eat. The majority of people take these drugs because they eat too much and exercise too little.

  • Mr. Schneebly Syracuse, UT
    July 25, 2011 4:43 p.m.

    I feel that this is the time for the health insurance companies, who blame the high cost of prescription drugs for the double digit increases in premiums every year, to LOWER the premiums paid by patients for insurance and for prescription drugs.

    Since the health insurers control Congress, I doubt this will happen unless we as voters demand it. We must hold our representatives feet to the fire.

    While I know that everyone also blames doctors for the high costs of medical care, the fact is that reimbursements to physicians during the past decade have NOT kept up with inflation, especially in the primary care fields of internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine.

    If some of this windfall for insurers is not used to improve reimbursements to these physicians, there will be a serious shortage of providers. Students will refuse to enter these professions at such low pay compared with specialties, and current practitioners will be forced out because they can't afford to stay open when inflation outpaces reimbursement.

    Primary care medicine is dying as a profession and there will be a serious crisis in the American medical system, making things far worse than they are currently.

  • ImaCaMan Redlands, CA
    July 25, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    Re: Wascomom

    You know enough to be dangerous. Save the medical advice to those that know what they are talking about. I'm a pharmacist and what you have stated as fact is not true.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    July 25, 2011 12:52 p.m.

    Who says the companies have to earn back their research and investments all in one year and then make ludicrous profits every year after that for 10-15 years.

    I was just reading an article which said that a report by 9 medical scientists claiming cholesterol drugs are vital when 8 of the 9 had close ties or investments in those very companies. The government said they saw no conflict. Another study showed that these drugs only help people who have a history of heart problems or it is prevalent in their family, whereas the general public should not be taking them. This report was swept under the rug by the government and was not reported by our "honest" media.

  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    July 25, 2011 12:09 p.m.

    For years I have purchased Lipitor and Plavix over the counter in the Philippines for 1/5th the cost of what it is here. Just for info.

  • ouisc Farmington, UT
    July 25, 2011 11:57 a.m.

    Here's another angle on this issue--the U.S. is paying for the research, though the benefits are worldwide!

    The pharmaceutical companies fund tons and tons of research--much of their research is crazy, but their crazy research pays off in the long run. When they do get a patent, they need to pay for their research in the first few years while there is no competition for their new drug.

    Who pays for this research? The U.S. Other countries around the world have placed "caps" on how much pharmaceutical companies can charge for their drugs. Pharmaceutical companies go along with this, because they still profit a bit at these capped rates. But we don't have these caps in the U.S., so we end up paying stunning rates for the drugs, because the world isn't helping pay for the research.

    I'd like to see the pharmaceutical companies charge those in the U.S. the same amount as they charge everyone else. Their profits might take a hit, but then they could develop more efficient research strategies.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    July 25, 2011 11:30 a.m.

    There is such a thing as obscene profits.

    The big drug companies recoup their investment in a new drug in the first 5 years, yet they continue to gouge the public for 10-13 years longer, making as much money as they can while people who cannot afford their drugs suffer and perish. This is a great example of obscene profits.

    So glad you could afford the Pfizer stock. Some of us were spending that money on insurance premiums that rose 25% and drug copays that went up 20% a year.

    Oil companies make the same argument: "We incur the cost, we should reap the rewards." Another example of obscene profits. They maximize their profits at a huge cost to society. There is another term for this: filthy lucre.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    July 25, 2011 10:28 a.m.

    The pursuit of profits may kill us.

    Dichloroacetic Acid (DCA) is a drug which showed promise in treating cancer. You'd think "A company could make serious money with that!", but the drug is made up of common ingredients that cannot be patented, so the big drug companies are not pursuing it. The drug can be produced at the same cost as aspirin.

    Imagine that. A cure for cancer not pursued because it can't make money.

    Long story short, a drug must go through clinical trials, so a town in Canada held a fund raiser to pay for the trials. Tests continue today.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    July 25, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    Yeah, I'm not too concerned about what brand name drug makers are going to do about profits with drug patents expiring. I am very excited about the savings people are going to see. This is awesome news for everyone especially the uninsured, people with high co-pay brands, medicare patients in the "donut hole," people with high deductible plans, etc.

    Parasites Mr. Mountainman? I certainly could make that same argument about brand name drug makers. Sure, brand name drug makers gouge people until patents expire and make a killing, then lets get some competition to drive prices down so people can afford their meds. Are you suggeting that brand name drug makers aren't making enough money? Are you suggesting competition isn't a good thing?

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    July 25, 2011 9:31 a.m.

    Mountanman is right on the money. The short sighted consumers thing everything should just be the price of the generics. The companies have to pay scientists, researchers, lawyers etc. Then once that is finally done they only have a short amount of time to make it pay off.

    When I starting worrying about drug costs I invested in Pfizer stock. It has split 3 times and increased in value 400%. Not to mention the great dividends we get from it each quarter. Pfizer has some of the top selling medications on the market but will take a hit when many of their biggest patents expire. I'm not worried though. They have a great research team and will continue to make the medications that improve our lives.

    So yes, thank you Sen. Hatch. Without your work the big companies would go out of business and not even try to make these new medications. It wouldn't be financially possible to make money. Thank you for making it work for all of us instead of a few short sighted citizens.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 25, 2011 8:36 a.m.

    @ CHS 85. I can tell you it is largely BECAUSE of generics that new meds cost are so high. Why? because if a company is fortunate enough to discover and get a drug approved, they have less than 15 years to recoup their costs then it goes off patent and its done! I wish the best to your wife and hope her meds improve her life. I for one am grateful we have medicines to protect and improve our health! If there is anyone who should be cheering drug companies on, it is generic companies. Because if the companies who discover new medicines do not succeed, generic companies have nothing to sell and we will have no medicines. Drug companies are my heroes for these reasons. Generic companies: just a different kind of parasite.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    July 25, 2011 8:10 a.m.


    Sniff, sniff, boo hoo. I feel so sorry for those bug drug companies. Bistol-Myers Squibb, who gets over $1180 per month for my wife's medications only grossed $18.8 Billion dollars last year with net income of a mere $10.6 billion. I feel so sorry for them.

  • peter Alpine, UT
    July 25, 2011 7:44 a.m.

    The high cholesterol scare is probably the biggest medical farce presented to the American people, ever. Though how medicine treats diabetes type II may just top it.
    In 1995, death by Rx drugs was the fifth leading cause of death in the USA. Now, it's the third leading cause. It looks like it will just get a little cheaper to get there, legally.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 25, 2011 7:36 a.m.

    Before we rejoice too much about generic drugs, we need to remember who discovers new medicines, researches all the side effects, gets them approved by the FDA and pays for all of that! Generic companies do none of that! They parasite off the work and success of other companies who foot the bills for all the cost. Add to that the cost of defending yourself against all the legions of ambulance chasing lawyers who love to get their hands into the pockets of drug companies and you can begin understand why new medicines are so very expensive! Where will the next miracle drug come from? One thing you can know for sure, it will NOT come from a generic drug company!

    July 25, 2011 5:44 a.m.

    We all can thank Senator Hatch for these patents not expiring sooner. He has used his influential positions in the Senate to extend the duration of the patents to protect his contributors, the big pharma companies, at the expense of the average American who needs the drugs and cannot often afford them. Thank you Senator Hatch! Chafetz is no solution to Hatch either.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    July 25, 2011 12:13 a.m.

    Big Pharma. The #2 reason for high American health care costs.

    #1 is the medical insurance mafia.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    July 24, 2011 11:07 p.m.

    Generic does not necessarily mean that the same formula and ingredients are used. It just means that up to 80% of the name-brand Rx recipe will be used, and the rest is not necessarily up to par. I've found that out with even Xyrtec. The OTC brand does nothing, as well as the Allegra OTC. Something is missing, and I'm feeling even more drowsy than when I paid full price for name-brand.