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tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 134.2 - Posts: 3779)
Sun, 15th Feb '09 6:52 PM

I NEED A PILL

Is anyone else sick and tired of the ceaseless barrage of advertisements you are subjected to when you choose to watch something on TV? You get 20 seconds of fluff about the drug, then 40 seconds of warnings and cautions about possible side effect, complications and danger of taking the drug.

Now this, all by itself, is enough to tick you off and make you wish they would disappear, but it is really much more sinister. The Drug Industry, which is almost always the most profitable segment of our economy, and also the #1 reason medical costs continue to soar upwards, is taking a tax deduction for them because they are "advertising". BULL BISCUITS! Advertising is presenting a product to a group of people who you want to buy it. These are prescription drugs. You cannot walk into the store and say "Gimme some". You need a prescription from your doctor. If they want a tax deduction, advertise to doctors.

Of course, the whirling dervishes of the company spin will tell you they are trying to educate you so you will go talk to your doctor about why you need it for whatever ails you. Apparently, they think your doctor is too dim to figure this out, or he is probably behind the curve and not aware of treatments. I like to think my doctor is smarter than me and some talking head who is interrupting my game or race. I want him telling me what I need, not making me feel obligated to tell him the television said I should be getting this or that.

But...

The funniest of the prescription drug ads are the Viagra ads. Near the end they tell you to seek medical attention if you experience an erection lasting more than four hours. Are they Daft? Don't they realize that I will have been at the Emergency Room for at least an 1 or 2 with my wife by then, who will have either passed out or suffered a cardiac arrest. I will be awash in medical attention. And then, if that is not enough, they tell you to see your doctor if you experience a sudden loss of hearing or vision. Is this something to do with poking yourself in the eyes or ears. I'm confused. I definitely need a beer.



ladyvol
Ladyvol  (Level: 205.4 - Posts: 5492)
Sun, 15th Feb '09 6:58 PM

Steve, here's your beer my friend....
Vickie

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Sun, 15th Feb '09 7:06 PM

"The Drug Industry, which is almost always the most profitable segment of our economy, and also the #1 reason medical costs continue to soar upwards."

Steve, I doubt that is true

I believe the preponderance of testing (brought on to avoid malpractice) and the expensive advances in medicine, not to mention doctors' fees themselves to be principal factors in driving up health costs. I will be interested to see how Obama is going to tackle this.

Drug prices are contained by the proliferation of generics.

I think the prescription drugs advertised are those which have a broad market which the consumer may not know can help him with a particular problem. For example, GERD.

gypsylady
Gypsylady  (Level: 142.8 - Posts: 6058)
Sun, 15th Feb '09 7:31 PM


tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 134.2 - Posts: 3779)
Sun, 15th Feb '09 7:46 PM

According to my reading, their level of profits is higher than anyone else on a percentage scale. They have a lot of tricks beyond be the largest advertising block on TV, like manufacturing a great many reof them in Puerto Rico, which is U.S. territory, but give them special tax advantages for doing business there, plus they get cheap labor. Insurance cost are also huge, but a big reason for the escalation in insurance costs is drug prices. Malpractice and other things also jack the premiums, but drugs are the biggest hitter. Generics are required by many insurance companies. My company, Blue Care Network, requires me to get generics, or pay double deductables, so they really are paying the difference between the two, I am, if I want name brand.

seniorrita
Seniorrita  (Level: 140.1 - Posts: 223)
Sun, 15th Feb '09 7:47 PM

A day or two ago I received the following email regarding drug costs and you may be interested in this. . . I copied it. These are NOT my words. Here is what I received. . . .

"I went to the Costco site, where you can look up any drug, and get its online price. It says that the in-store prices are consistent with the online prices. I was appalled. Just to give you one example from my own experience I had to use the drug Compazine which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients.

"I used the generic equivalent, which cost $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS. I checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19.89. For 145 of my pain pills, I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at Costco for $28.08.

"I would like to mention, that although Costco is a 'membership' type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there as it is a federally regulated substance. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in."

There were multiple examples of cost comparisons in the email. Check this out!

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Sun, 15th Feb '09 7:55 PM

Of course, you can't get generics of new drugs, so you just have to pay more under most U.S. medical plans these days.

donden
Donden  (Level: 112.5 - Posts: 2127)
Sun, 15th Feb '09 7:55 PM

At my age if I had an erection lasting four hours it would probably be caused by the embalming fluid.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 3:26 AM

Steve, from Wiki

"The Congressional Budget Office has found that "about half of all growth in health care spending in the past several decades was associated with changes in medical care made possible by advances in technology." Other factors included higher income levels, changes in insurance coverage, and rising prices.[23] Hospitals and physician spending take the largest share of the health care dollar, while prescription drugs take about 10 percent.[24] The use of prescription drugs is increasing among adults who have drug coverage."

salzypat
Salzypat  (Level: 156.5 - Posts: 5316)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 3:59 AM

Donden, thanks for my good laugh for the night!!

Steve, I agree, I hate those ads for prescription medicines. Usually they talk so fast to get in all the side effects that you can't understand them anyway.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 5:54 AM

You aren't supposed to digest all the side effects. The purpose of the ad is to make you aware of a medication that can address a certain problem. If you have that problem, then you ask your physician about it, and he will, among other things, take into account the possible side effects.

And if you didn't get it above, pills accounting for only 10% of medical costs are not the driving force behind spiraling medical costs.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 8:04 AM

The Wiki quote refers to causes of increasing health costs over the last several decades -- which would include periods of time prior to direct consumer marketing of drugs. I know that in the health plan that covered my firm -- prescription drug utilization and higher costs of new drugs was the major costs of premium increases/benefit cutbacks over the last five years. Thus, I did some quick internet research.

From Statistical Brief #196 from January 2008, for the Agency for Healthcare & Research Quality, www.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st196/stat196.pdf:

"Prescription drugs are a large portion of health care expenditures. In 2005, expenditures for prescription drugs among the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population accounted for 20.8 percent of total health care expenditures. This compares with a 2004 value of 19.8 percent of total health care expenditures. This increase follows a longer trend. The proportion in 2005 was a significant increase from 1996 when prescription drugs expenditures accounted for only 11.9 percent of total health care expenditures."

It seems to me that this is consistent with Steve's views on the impact of prescription drugs on medical inflation. No doubt the 20.8% figure further increased through 2008.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 1:53 PM

Sorry, Tsk, 20% or 10% of total costs, pharmaceuticals are not the driving force behind spiraling health care costs.

And the advertising of a few drugs is very small potatoes in the big picture. Sending detail men to call on doctors costs real money too.

(Once again I love you folks who think you can from your armchairs run companies better than their CEO's.)

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 3:22 PM

Andy:

You are way off base. Maybe you enjoy the benefits of the French medical system or are rich so to you the costs represented by these figures are de minimus. For the portion of total U.S. medical expenditures to climb from about 12% to almost 21% in 10 years (and I'm sure its even higher now; that was a 2005 figure) is, indeed, a big change, and demonstrates that prescription drug costs are increasing far more dramatically than other components of medical expenditure. This is consistent with major increases in premium for American health plans that offer prescriprion drug benefits. I know this to be factually accurate because my legal specialty was insurance regulation, and I've seen the rate filings and how covering the costs of drugs as expotentially increased as a factor in such rate filings.

The literature analyzing advertising costs and prescription drug prices is mixed. I personally think those arguing that direct consumer advertising played a major factor in the increase are correct. TV ads are not cheap, and the drug companies are certainly recouping these expenses. In most countries, direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs is illegal. It became legal in the U.S. in 1997 -- and as can be seen from my prior posting, over a decade, the percentage of the U.S. medical expenditures for drugs increased to almost 21%. According to "The New England Journal of Medicine" drug promotion -- advertising -- increased from $11.4 billion in 1996 to $29.9 billion in 2005. (You can find the article on-line by googling "direct to consumer drug advertising". Logically, it stands to reason that when advertising comes close to tripling in ten years, the drug companies are going to build that into pricing. (Drug prices in the U.S. are, incidentally, among the highest -- if not the highest -- in the world.)

Articles I found that concluded no impact on drug costs from advertising seemed to be written for the most part by researchers paid by the drug companies.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 3:24 PM

And Andy, I love you folks who are apologists for corporate abuse.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 4:48 PM

No one is apologizing for anything, TSK.

The problem is you think prices are high and would be lower without the advertising, but the pharmaceutical companies have decided that in certain cases it is most EFFICIENT to market using advertising. They have numerous drugs; they advertise a few of them.

Once again drugs are not the component that is generating spiraling health care costs. What's an office visit to the doctor cost there today? I pay about $29 here. I paid over $100 ten years ago in Chicago. I imagine it would be twice that today. And hospitaliza

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.0 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 4:52 PM

No one is apologizing for anything, TSK.

The problem is you think prices are high and would be lower without the advertising, but the pharmaceutical companies have decided that in certain cases it is most EFFICIENT to market using advertising. They have numerous drugs; they advertise a few of them.

Once again drugs are not the principal component that is generating spiraling health care costs.

What's an office visit cost there today? I pay about $29 here. I paid over $100 ten years ago in Chicago. I imagine it would be at least twice that today. And hospitalization in hospitals where not everyone pays their bill any more. And tests, tests, tests for which you pay in the US at least 3 times what I pay here.

As noted previously it will be interesting to see how Obama attacks this.

donden
Donden  (Level: 112.5 - Posts: 2127)
Mon, 16th Feb '09 9:23 PM

Darn drug prices anyway! A dime bag ain't what it used to be.

bbear
Bbear  (Level: 161.7 - Posts: 2301)
Tue, 17th Feb '09 10:29 AM

Just reading this thread for the first time. Got a huge teeheehee from Don. Maybe embalming fluid is the next Viagra.

Hubbie and I get a kick out of the commercial with the two folks on the dock in separate bathtubs. Those tubs are way to small to have a romantic encounter, so what's the point of the Viagra?


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