September 05, 2007

A Bitter Pill To Swallow

Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. A search was done of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries. In the independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, actual prices of active ingredients used in some of the most popular drugs sold in America were obtained. The data below speaks for itself.


Celebrex: 100 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $130.27

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.60

Percent markup: 21,712%

Claritin: 10 mg Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215.17

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.71

Percent markup: 30,306%

Keflex: 250 mg Consumer Price (100 tablets): $157.39

Cost of general active ingredients: $1.88

Percent markup: 8,372%

Lipitor: 20 mg Consumer Price (100 tablets): $272.37

Cost of general active ingredients: $5.80

Percent markup: 4,696%

Norvasc: 10 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $188.29

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.14

Percent markup: 134,493%

Paxil: 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $220.27

Cost of general active ingredients: $7.60

Percent markup: 2,898%

Prevacid: 30 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $44.77

Cost of general active ingredients: $1.01

Percent markup: 34,136%

Prilosec : 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $360.97

Cost of general active ingredients $0.52

Percent markup: 69,417%

Prozac: 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets) : $247.47

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.11

Percent markup: 224,973%

Tenormin: 50 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $104.47

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.13

Percent markup: 80,362%

Vasotec: 10 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $102.37

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.20

Percent markup: 51,185%

Xanax: 1 mg Consumer price (100 tablets) : $136.79

Cost of general active ingredients: $0.024

Percent markup: 569,958%

Zestril: 20 mg Consumer price (100 tablets) $89.89

Cost of general active ingredients $3.20

Percent markup: 2,809%

Zithromax: 600 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $1,482.19

Cost of general active ingredients: $18.78

Percent markup: 7,892%

Zocor: 40 mg Consumer price (100 tablets): $350.27

Cost of general active ingredients: $8.63

Percent markup: 4,059%

Zoloft: 50 mg Consumer price: $206.87

Cost of general active ingredients: $1.75

Percent markup: 11,821%

An investigative reporter did a story on generic drug price gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation, that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more. So often, we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example, if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for 100 pills. The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80, making you think you are "saving" twenty dollars. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him ten dollars.

This information is appalling, and disheartening, in view of all those in need of certain medicatiions to maintain a degree of health, and in some cases, to sustain life. It is even more appalling when one considers that there are some, especially the elderly, and disabled, and others on fixed incomes who must choose between getting a much needed prescription filled, and paying a utility bill, or in some cases being able to buy groceries.

Will this shameful situation ever be remedied? I don't think so-- as long as unadulterated greed is allowed to continue as it is now, nothing is going to change.

21 comments:

GUYK said...

I don't begrugde anyone from making a profit but the government will not let the law of supply and demand work. If we were allowed to order the drugs from overseas..even Canada..we would put a hurtin' on the hijackers.
But as long as the drug sellers have the monopoly and is abetted by the Feds there is not much we can do except bitch or buy it bootleg. And a hell of a lot of people are bringing the stuff in and probably will be more before it is said and done.

Jan said...

Guyk..it is a shame and a disgrace. I know that awhile ago, buses were chartered to go into Canada from around this area, for the express purpose of getting prescriptions filled. Now, with the terrorist threat, and Homeland Security, etc., I am not sure if that is possible anymore. I think I will try to check that out, just to see, and maybe do a post on it at some time.

Olivia Kroth said...

Unadulterated greed, you name it, Jan.

Here in Germany all the big companies cheat on taxes, also those producing drugs. So their profit is even bigger than mentioned in you post.

Probably it will not be much different in the USA.

Who will stop them? They are a force to be reckoned with. Nobody, no politician will dare to oppose them.

Greed and corruption are part of our everyday life.

Olivia

Desert Cat said...

What is not counted in that cost per pill is the cost of development of that drug, and the cost of those drugs that were in development but never made it through FDA approval, plus a level of profit commensurate with the level of risk taken that *none* of the drugs currently in development by that company will make it through and the investors would lose everything.

Without sufficient profit incentive, no one would put the dollars into new research to develop new lifesaving drugs.

It's like intellectual property. A blank CD costs 25 cents. Why do music CD's cost sixty times more? Greedy musicians!

Now the generic manufacturers and the pharmacies are a different story. They don't have those development costs, so they are actually the ones profiteering. But they seem to get a pass, because everyone thinks they're getting a bargain when they buy generic.

Jan said...

You've said it all, Olivia...greed and corruption are a part of our everyday lives.

Jan said...

Dc..I understand what you are saying, but there is still much greed where the pharmaceutical companies who develop the drugs are concerned, too. You, yourself, know about the benefits of herbs and natural remedies, some of which are every bit as effective as the manufactured ones.

There was an old herbalist in Alabama, who had concocted certain remedies for several ailments, that were completely effective, and harmless, yet the FDA raided the poor old guy's little house in the woods and confiscated everything, leaving a lot of people without what had been helping them, much of which was free of charge or only two or three dollars.

The pharmaceutical companies keep pumping out drugs, many of which are harmful, to the point of being deadly...and they get away with a lot.

Meanwhile, the consumer sufferers the cost, and sometimes, the consequences, created by these greedy companies and organizations.

Olivia Kroth said...

I agree with you Jan. That's why I do not buy any drugs made by the big German companies like Höchst Pharma or Pfitzer Pharma.

If I have to, I buy alternative medicine, made on a herbal basis, and a lot cheaper than what the big drug companies produce.

Often some herb out of my garden or the adjoining woods helps.

Olivia

Jan said...

Olivia, I know that there are times that we have no choice, but when we do we ahould be as responsible as we can possibly be.

"Be wise as serpents..gentle as doves."

sue said...

I've heard this before. I understand what Cat is saying, but there has to be a happy medium. One where they can get money for research and, yes, as Guy says make a profit... and still be a bit more reasonable. It's horrible.

Jan said...

Exactly, Sue...well said.

The Hermit said...

I asked my daughter to price the medicines I take , up in Canada where she lives. Not surprisingly, the Canadian prices for the same drugs were exponentially lower.

Jan said...

Hermit...I am not surprised. As I said, there used to be chartered buses going to Canada on a regular basis from here so that folks could buy medications. Needless to say, the bus was always filled to capacity.

Now, I doubt that it is possible to do that, with all of the restrictions that have been imposed at the border.

I'm not sure, but I think a lot more documentation is required now.

Dazd said...

Dang...I need to open a drugstore!

Jan said...

Sounds like a winner to me, dazd!

Desert Cat said...

Positively agree regarding natural/alternative medicine. There is an ongoing effort to supress it by the medical lobby in this country. Fortunately the supplements industry has been pushing back for years, and at least today it is still possible to purchase and use non AMA approved modalities.

I would be wroth if they ever succeeded. That's the great thing about Germany. Herbal medicine is accepted by the establishment there, and there's actual studies and testing being done to verify the claims made for various remedies.

Jan said...

I agree, DC..and it would certainly be worth it if they did some natural/alternative studies in this country.

I doubt that being allowed to purchase and use non AMA spproved supplements will go on for too much longer.

Olivia Kroth said...

Hi desert cat,

I agree with you that the medical lobby tries to suppress any ongoing efforts of establishing alternative/natural medicine.

The pharma lobby in Germany works that way, too. I think, globally the pharma industry is like a big mafia-like operation pushing their products on people, eliminating other competitors on their sector.

Therefore we should boycott them wherever we can. I have not bought any drugs (other than on a herbal basis) for about a decade now. The less I swallow of those artificial pharma pills, the healthier I get.
O wonders!

Olivia

Generic VIagra said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julia F. said...

I am 61 and I've been using Generic Viagra since it was first released. I never had any problems, not even headaches, it only improved my erections!

generic drugs said...

Thanks, helpful source.

US Online Pharmacy said...

Viagra is a tablet to be taken orally anytime from 4 hours to 30 minutes before sexual activity. Do not take Viagra more than once a day. Follow all the recommendations strictly. http://www.8pills.com