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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Prescription Drug Prices In the United States

Today in the United States, prescription drug prices have become an issue for many Americans. The amount being spent on prescription drugs has grown, and exceeded all other countries. Prices have increased significantly and have caused great worry for many living in the United States. This increasing cost has become a concern for multiple “Patients, prescribers, payers, and policy makers” (Kesselheim, 2016). It has been a concern for these people, because they are not able to get the help they need for themselves, or other people in their lives. Prescription drugs have been so expensive, that U.S. citizens have gone to extremes by going to another country, just to buy the specific drug needed. People are not able to afford these drugs, that they are starting to become desperate and will do whatever it takes to get it. If these prices are such a concern, then why does America charge so much? They do it because “The U.S. lacks a national healthcare system that directly negotiates with the pharmaceutical industry. Rather, most negotiations occur between pharmaceutical companies and private insures or vendors” (Wikipedia, 2017). If the citizens working in that field established a stronger national healthcare, then drug prices wouldn’t be as high and problematic for the people. It would also build a more secure healthcare that many would rely on more. Another reason drug prices are an issue is because, “… there’s nothing stopping them” (Bulletin, 2017). That leads to another issue leading do drug prices. There is nothing there to protect the people of America from paying such hefty prices.

“Confusion, anxiety and anger over the cost of medicine has been on the rise for more than a decade” (Bulletin, 2017). Problems dealing with drug prices have gone on for years now, with no change and comfort for citizens. In 1960 the United States expenditure for prescription drugs was $2.7 billion, in 2017, the expenditure was a total of $360.1 billion (Statista, 2018). In just sixty-seven years, the price for drugs has more than tripled. The history of this topic of drug prices has only increased and has never been changed. Since 2004, the prices of these drugs in the United States have been higher in any other country in the world. Actions such as Medicare Part D, Veterans Health Administration, the Department of Defense, and 340B Drug Pricing Program were used to stop the governments health programs and Medicare from negotiating prices (Wikipedia, 2017). The programs were able to impact pricing, but were not effective. There are still some of those strategies and many others today, that are trying to fight the inflation of the problem.

In America, there have been huge technological advances that have contributed to the problem of drug pricing. Some of those advances include new medical and surgical procedures, drugs, medical devices, and new support systems. “Health care experts point to the development and diffusion of medical technology as primary factors in explaining the persistent difference between health spending and overall economic growth, with some arguing that new medical technology may account for about one-half or more of real long-term spending growth” (Foundation, 2007). These advances can be effective, by giving every person help and solutions for what they need, but they grant and ask for more money for the practices. The technology is representing a half of the prices the United States charges us. Though the advances are costly, they are able to make the United States the most leading and wanted in the world for help in the medical field. That also means that there are better prescription drugs that can be used for many reasons. The technological advances affect prescription drug pricing in both positive and negative ways. It is there to provide more opportunities and chances, but charges more than most Americans can afford.

Prescription drug pricing has positive and negative actions and purposes in the United States. The pros of the pricing are that the cost of these drugs provide more flexibility and money to develop and find newer and more developed drugs. (Dana P. Goldman, 2008).  Another pro is that experts are able to research and figure out how effective and demanded a certain drug is. Those two concepts will also help America keep its title of being the most advanced and secure. Though drug prices have a positive impact in certain areas, there are multiple cons that question the pricing. One is that it is very costly. Some residents are not able to afford and pay for most drugs, which is a huge problem. It makes getting help so unfair and not worth it to many. People are not getting the help needed to become better. Another con is that it makes the health care system look like it doesn’t care about the people.

In Christina Glasgow’s case study Promotion of Prescription Drugs to Consumers: Case Study Results, she talks about how the DTCA and FDA promote and advertise prescription drugs. Something interesting that Glasgow states is, “Most promotion of prescription drugs in the United States still is directed toward professionals” (GLASGOW, 2002). Though its good that promotions are directed toward professionals, a point would be made if promotions were made towards standard citizens, because those are the people who use these drugs the most.  This case study is effective by giving background information about prescription drugs, making the idea easier to understand and comprehend. Another idea this study has is that “One of the largest and most important movements in the American marketplace is the shift toward self-care, and DTCA provides individuals with information necessary for meeting their self-care goals” (GLASGOW, 2002). By understanding that background information, people will be able to get more insight on why they must pay so much. The quote says that the DTCA wants to promote self-care but in the case the idea of charging so much comes in to play. It gives more statistics to prove how overtime the prices spent on drugs is increasing rapidly and how it is becoming a concern.

Everyone has or will be affected by prescription drugs once in their life. It is something that they will have to deal with. But who is the most affected by these prices? From later Adolescence to middle adulthood. The age group for adolescents is 18-24, where middle adulthood is from 40-60 (Newman). From 18- 60, that is were most of the income is to pay for these bills and medicines. At that time in life, most people have gotten in accidents such as car crashes that need assistance. People have also started families, which is a huge contributor for the need of prescription drugs. These people will be the most impacted of prescription drugs, because of the events going on in their life. What also goes on in a short period of time is the frequency and speed of the prices. In such a short period of time, the amount spent on drugs have shot to the top. The frequency of spending has never declined, which can be stressful, showing to everyone that prices are going to keep going up.

The most prominent individuals involved with the prices would not only be the normal citizens today but the health care officials. These officials play a huge role on how medicine affects everyone. They have the power to get involved and make a change in how we are charged for certain drugs. They also have the opportunity to create change on how much we have to pay. The “normal” people are only able to go so far making a change because of the amount of power they have. With certified officials, they have more of a chance to be successful. Since officials are the only one to truly make a change, it puts into perspective how bad the issue of prescription drug prices is. Out of ten I would give this issue an eight. I would give it and eight, because of how there hasn’t been any change. Drug prices keep increasing dramatically, and there has been nothing that has improved the situation. “Americans pay more for prescriptions and poorer health outcomes while the drug industry sits back and collects a profit” (GLASGOW, 2002). This issue is severe, because of health cares officials motivation to change. Other countries have  lower prices and are able to take care of those need, without huge expenses and stresses. Without that freedom that other countries have, many people are suffering and being “punished” with the hefty drug prices.

If the prescription drug prices In the U.S. was positive, there would be more research and opportunity to learn about more drugs and medical technology. The drugs and technology would end up being the most precise tools in the world and would contribute to many amazing causes. With more money coming in, there would be more chances to improve not only the drugs but people’s lives. Most problems would be resolved and there would be less people suffering. The effects of the drugs would also improve reactions, problems and many more outcomes. Overall, the United States would improve and be able to provide the best aid for its citizens, and possibly other countries.

The price of a drug can be ridiculous and costly. If prescription drug price cons got their way, many people would be very happy and relieved. Also, the United States economy would probably be in a better place, reducing the amount of debt. More people would be able to pay and afford these drugs. They would also be able to obtain the help that they needed and not have to worry about how they can afford it. Also, In my opinion, the United States would make more income from lowering the prices. By doing so, more people will be willing to buy these prescription drugs, resulting in more money. Americas society would be impacted greatly if the con side won.

Works Cited

Aaron S. Kesselheim, M. J., Jerry Avorn, M., & Ameet Sarpatwari, J. P. (2016, August 23). Journals. Retrieved from The JAMA Network: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2545691?redirect=true

Bulletin, A. (2017, May). Drugs and Supplements. Retrieved from AARP: https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2017/rx-prescription-drug-pricing.html

Dana P. Goldman, D. N.-C. (2008). Research Briefs. Retrieved from Rand Corporation: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9412.html

Foundation, T. H. (2007, March 2). Health Costs. Retrieved from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation: https://www.kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/snapshots-how-changes-in-medical-technology-affect/

GLASGOW, C. (2002). Retrieved from http://www.amcp.org/data/jmcp/Contemporary%20Subjects-512-518.pdf

Newman, N. a. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.widener.edu: http://www.widener.edu/about/campus_resources/wolfgram_library/documents/life_span_chart_final.pdf

Statista. (2018). Health & Pharmaceuticals. Retrieved from Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/184914/prescription-drug-expenditures-in-the-us-since-1960/

Wikipedia. (2017, November 27). Articles. Retrieved from Wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prescription_drug_prices_in_the_United_States

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