Tags: prescription | drugs | expense | big pharma | ripping | consumer

4 Ways Big Pharma Is Ripping You Off

By    |   Tuesday, 14 July 2015 04:18 PM


America spends more than any other country on healthcare, yet ranks last in health quality among developed nations.

Why is this?

Much of it can be blamed on our system of administering prescription drugs.

Prescription medications make up close to 10 percent of the $2.9 trillion annual total spent on healthcare in the U.S., and the costs of drugs continues to rise.

Your health may not be the first priority of big pharmaceutical companies, whose shareholders demand maximum profits.

“Physicians are by and large really goodhearted, well-meaning people, but without knowing it, they are simply being herded into recommending what is most profitable,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., a board certified internist and author of the best-selling book "Real Cause, Real Cure."

“Sadly, most medical education, including journals and medical conferences, is paid for by the pharmaceutical and medical products industry,” he tells Newsmax Health. “They’re basically slick advertising masquerading as science.”

The deception doesn’t end there.

Here are four ways big pharmaceutical companies rip you off.

1. Payoffs to Doctors

Some startling figures were revealed by a new law that came into effect in August of 2013 requiring that drug and medical device companies report the value of payments to doctors and teaching hospitals.

Between August and December of that year, the total added up to $3.5 billion.

Doctors received approximately $380 million for speaking and consulting, with the highest-paid physicians each receiving more than half-a-million dollars, and $1.49 billion in research grants. Other payouts included lunches or dinners, royalties for developing drugs or devices, and trips to educational or scientific conferences.

This means that some doctors may be inclined to prescribe certain drugs made by companies that have, in effect, paid them bribes to do so.

2. Massive Marketing

The drug industry spends far more on marketing than it does on research to find better medications.

In 2012, for example, advertising totaled $3 billion to consumers, mostly on television, plus $27 billion aimed at physicians. Thousands of drug reps visit doctors, giving them freebies in the hope the doctors will prescribe their medications.

Companies advertise in medical journals, sponsor conferences, and pay for required continuing education.

3. Product Hopping

Lower-cost generic drugs can be introduced only after a patent for a brand-name drug expires. Since branded drugs are much more profitable than generics, drug companies came up with a strategy called “product hopping” to extend the duration of a patent.

It works this way: Before a patent expires, a drug manufacturer slightly alters the product, not enough to require new clinical trials for FDA approval, but just enough to preserve the exclusive, patent-protected status of the brand-name drug.

As an example, pills could be changed to a time-release form, making it a “new drug.” This happened with the Alzheimer’s drug Namenda IR, which was replaced with a time-release version Namenda XR.

4. Pay for Delay

Directly stifling competition with a payoff is another way drug companies stop generic drugs from becoming available.

When a patent of a branded drug is about to expire, the manufacturer pays the would-be producer of a generic to get the company to agree not to make the cheaper version.

According to a study by the Federal Trade Commission, this tactic costs consumers $3.5 billion in higher drug costs every year. The FTC has filed numerous lawsuits to stop such transactions but the practice continues.

What You Can Do:

“The best way to protect yourself is to be an informed consumer,” says Dr. Teitelbaum.

Do your own research about the drugs you are taking to determine if there are more effective, less expensive, or safer options.


The full version of this article appeared in Health Radar newsletter. To read more, click here.



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America spends more than any other country on healthcare, yet ranks last in health quality among developed nations. Why is this? Much of it can be blamed on our system of administering prescription drugs. Prescription medications make up close to 10 percent of the $2.9...
prescription, drugs, expense, big pharma, ripping, consumer
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2015-18-14
Tuesday, 14 July 2015 04:18 PM
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