Drug companies are back in the news again and probably not in the way they would have liked. A group of 43 states plus the Federal Government joined together to charge drug companies with improperly marketing antipsychotic drugs to pediatric Medicaid patients when the drugs were not approved for use in children.
The states started to notice the improper marketing programs when the cost of anti-psychotic drugs soared from one year to the next. The drug company involved in this case was Bristol-Myers Squib and the settlement cost them $515 million.
Read the article here about the New Hampshire view of the settlement.
What strikes me most about this article is that the drug companies constantly complain that the high cost of medications is because of the cost of research. However, the cost of marketing seems to be pretty ridiculously high when they end up paying an extra $515 million for the cost of their screw up.
Who will ultimately pay for this error? Why the people who buy the next high priced drug the company releases, of course. Fining a company for something like this is not enough, especially when they will simply turn around and pass the cost back to the states in the following years.
The solution seems much simpler to me — allow the states to participate in collective bargaining for drug purchasing, create a national health care program that actually pays the real cost of these drugs without the hyperinflated prices. Finally, the state and Federal Governments need to hold the executives at the top accountable for the profit at any cost attitudes seen recently in the pharmaceutical industry.
It’s an election year in the U.S., folks. Talk to your local, state, and federal candidates to determine what they plan to do to repair the collapsing U.S. health care system. Visit the American Nurses Association site on health care reform and find out the issues and key points from your national nurses’ representative organiztion.
And last but not least, VOTE!