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Myths about Prescription Drug Prices

The Industry Counters Criticism about Costs
 
The pharmaceutical industry has a bad reputation when it comes to the cost of prescription meds. Here are some facts, from the industry's perspective.

1. Nearly seven out of every ten prescriptions in America are now filled with a generic drug, according to IMS Health. Brand-name drugs are a very small portion of total health spending. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), "Without today's innovative brand-name drugs to legally copy, there would be no generic drug industry.  Worse yet, there would be little hope of finding new treatments and cures for a wide range of debilitating - and often deadly - diseases."

2. Brand-name prescription drugs have not increased at runaway, inflated prices. For example, in 2007, drug price growth was 1.4 percent, according to Medicare and Medicaid data. In looking over historical drug costs, medicines accounted for roughly 10 percent of total health spending in the U.S. in 2006 - the same proportion as in 1960.
 
3. The price of brand-name meds is a reflection upon the research and development costs, the significant time it takes to bring the medicine to the public, and the costs to get FDA approval. Per PhRMA, it takes an average of 10-15 years to develop an innovative medicine from the earliest stages of discovery through Food and Drug Administration approval.  It costs the industry nearly $60 billion annually for research and development.
 
4. Eighty percent of the drugs that hit the pharmacy shelves are actually financial drains for the industry. Only two of every ten drugs that reach the public ever recoup enough money to match or exceed the average research and development costs of getting them to the marketplace (www.phrma.org). 

5. Pharmaceutical companies are dedicated to finding life-saving treatments, and understand how important it is to get medications to people who cannot afford them. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) is the industry's answer to helping needy patients find free or nearly free prescriptions (www.pparx.org).
  
Through programs such as the PPA, the industry is trying to show that it is not a greedy, money-hungry business. It is an industry with its own weighty expenses, but maintains the simple goal of discovering new medicines that will give patients longer, fuller lives.

By Neil Whitehall
Get Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs, Contributing Editor

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