Tags: prescriptions | precision medicine | genomics

Costs Altering Medical Care

By Thursday, 22 October 2015 05:11 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Recently in the news media, there has been significant reporting concerning the cost of prescription drugs, including the increase in cost of some medications.

Increases in the cost of prescription medications has had a profound effect on overall expenditures for medical care and the cost of payment, above and beyond what insurance companies reimburse. Costs of medicine generally increase progressively until the medication loses its patent rights.

For some medications — particularly those dealing with cancer care — the actual cost to patients has risen to up to $200,000 per year.

In fact, there have been reports of one drug manufacturer increasing the cost of its medication an incredible 5,000 percent, from just a few dollars per tablet to more than $700 per pill. That means that just one month’s dosage would cost a patient $21,000.

There has been plenty of discussion about finding a reasonable way to evaluate the cost of medicine and how effectively it treats the disease for which it is prescribed. But that information is not readily available in our current medical system.

This is where the new system of precision medicine comes in. This involves collecting data on the effectiveness of treatment programs, as well as helping to prevent disease by using genome patterns as part of a patient’s evaluation process. Utilization of family history can also help predict probable disease in the future.

With this data, we should also be able to determine how effective drugs are.

News media have indicated that many drugs are not nearly as effective as clinical trials for approval would have indicated. In fact, this is true for almost all types of medication.

I wrote before about trying to get a drug for pulmonary hypertension that was prescribed by a patient’s pulmonary physician. Unfortunately, that drug was not readily available in most pharmacies. When it was finally be available, the payment for it per month would have been $2,300.

Luckily there is a foundation to assist patients with prescription costs and other medical expenses: The Caring Voice Coalition. The patient’s medication was approved through The Caring Voice Coalition, even though it took another two weeks for a nurse who works with the pharmaceutical company to come and talk to the patient about the medication and its side effects before she could actually start taking the medication.

Considering all of the factors, it was over three months after the medication was prescribed that it actually could be administered to the patient. These types of factors have profound effects on medical outcomes and effective medical treatment.

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Recently in the news media, there has been significant reporting concerning the cost of prescription drugs, including the increase in cost of some medications.
prescriptions, precision medicine, genomics
Thursday, 22 October 2015 05:11 PM
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