Why are some drugs so expensive?

A look at the current state of prescription costs in the U.S.

By Heather Drago, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

April 25, 2017 – Listen in as Brian Lehman, OPERS’ pharmacy benefits and policy manager, and Michael Pramik, communication strategist, discuss the state of prescription drug costs.

The discussion focuses on what is driving the growth, what the future looks like for prescription drug spending and what OPERS is doing to help rein in some of the costs for our retirees.

Heather Drago

Heather Drago is a health care communications specialist with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. She breaks down health care topics into clear, concise, consumable messaging for our retirees. When she’s not blogging, Heather composes content for OPERS print publications, the OPERS website and internal employee communications.

Heather Drago

Health Care Communication Specialist

2 thoughts on “Why are some drugs so expensive?

  • April 25, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Let’s us buy medicine on the open market, we buy food from all over the world and think nothing of it. Medicine should be allowed to be imported just like buying from Amazon with 2 day shipping. It doesn’t kill the people in the third world countries so why should be worry. Watch the Dallas buyers club an you will see that prescription can be had from India and other countries for pennies on the dollar. Why should be pay high prices just to finance new drugs when the rest of the world steals the chemical makeup of that drug and sells it for pennies compared to here.

  • April 26, 2017 at 6:23 am

    The pharmaceutical industry has increased the cost of mediations that have been used for may years by percentages that defy explanation. Recent examples in the news include Questar (since acquired by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals) raised the price of Acthar from $40.00 per vial to $38,000. Questar purchased the rights to Synacthen a synthetic and significantly less expensive competitor drug used in Europe and Canada. Despite promises to the FDA, it delayed releaser to the US market keeping the monopoly on Acthar. It is now one of the top Medicare medication expenditures. This is another old drug whose rights were purchased by Questor in 2001 for $100,000. Achar was approved in 1952, yet despite being off patent for many years and having a less expensive alternative it continues to command prices that represent a 950% increase since 2001. Furthermore despite Acthar ranking in the top 100 – 150 highest of Medicare’s annual medication expenditures it treats a relatively small number of patients. I believe changes should be made to allow Medicate to negotiate the price of drugs.


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