Saturday, July 08, 2006

Drug Prices Down

I find this piece by Gladwell amazing. I find it amazing that the Times did not publish what would be the logically more attention grabbing headline: "Drug Prices Down". It's criminal that our health costs are skyrocketing because people are demanding brand name drugs. If you're reading this in the USA and are on Prozac and have health insurance- I demand you switch to generic fluoxetine. Look, you'll still be happy either way, only this way, I'll be happier too. It's a win-win-lose, but we'll be the winners!

The Times' Drug Problem: "The New York Times led its business section today with the headline: “Drug Prices Up Sharply.” The subject of the piece was a study by AARP showing that prices of prescription drugs rose 3.9 percent in the first three months of this year, four times the rate of inflation. Outrageous!

But wait: it isn’t until you read a little closer that you realize that the price increase just refers to brand-name pharmaceutical prices. And what the article never mentions at all is that the AARP released a second study yesterday, showing that generic drug costs in the

United States were unchanged in the first quarter and fell 0.1 percent over the past year. Here is the key paragraph from the AARP report, which—unbelievably—never made it into the Times piece:

'The rate of increase in average annual change in manufacturer’s list price for generic prescription drugs most widely used by older Americans was about one quarter the rate of general inflation for 2005.” "

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