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Drug Company Secrets Exposed

For years America has been told that the reason for our high drug prices is to promote a truly innovative market. In other words, price limitations on drugs would sway the incentive of drug companies to produce new innovative drugs. After doing some research on this subject, it seems to me that the drug companies are more worried about protecting there existing “money making” drugs rather than creating new innovative ones.

Drug companies claim that the reason for high drug prices is to compensate for the high cost of research and development. The drug companies allege that the cost of a drug from concept to delivery to the consumer is 0 million. In the book The Truth About the Drug Companies, the author Dr. Marcia Angell explains, “when the industry claims to have spent billion on research and development and ninety-eight drugs are produced, the average pre-tax cost for each drug was, under those assumptions, no greater than 5 million , and the after tax cost are about 5 million. (R&D is tax deductible)”

But this is not the biggest part of the whole sham. What will really get your attention is the number of innovative drugs actually being produced. Research and Development is only 11% of sales where as marketing is 36%. In 2002, seventy-eight new drugs were approved by the FDA. Of those, only seventeen were deemed by the FDA to have new active ingredients, and only seven were found to be improvements over the older drugs. On top of that, of the seven drugs found to be an improvement, not one of them came from America.

The truth is, what the drug companies are spending all their time and marketing on is the same drugs we have had for the last 20 years. More than 77 percent of drugs put out by drug companies each year are re-released versions of an old drug with better marketing behind it. Drug companies are more worried about there patents expiring than they are about making innovative drugs.

Patents allow drug companies exclusive rights to charge whatever they want while the patent is active. When the patent expires, other companies can begin to make generics of the formerly patented drug which drives the price down. So what the drug companies do is use the exact same drug, test it with the FDA for a slightly different use, slap a “new and improved” label on it, switch their marketing to the new product that holds the new patent, and call it a day. For example, Schering-Plough’s patent on its money drug Claritin was about to run out. So they retested the same drug with the FDA for indoor allergy relief as well as seasonal allergy relief and called it Clarinex. They then launched a huge promotional campaign to switch users from Claritin to Clarinex because it was an improvement over the existing drug even though it is exactly the same. It was approved for that use only because they decided to test it for that use; if they would have tested Claritin for indoor allergy use it would have had the same results as Clarinex.

If drug companies are not producing new drugs to help us because they are to busy trying to keep their prices high on existing drugs, then why support them by buying their drugs at unreasonably high prices? The best place to find medication at discount prices if is a pharmacy resource website that will help you locate and compare the cheapest prices on your prescription medication from foreign sources such as Canada. Visit this Consumer Advocacy website for more information on ordering from online pharmacies.

About the Author: For more related articles on health and the pharmaceutical industry, visit our blog: Insider Guide to Online Prescriptions.

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