Forgetting about the potential dangers to competition from corporate Leviathan Amazon, that it launched a new online pharmacy this week will certainly appeal to tens of millions of Americans. Prescription drugs are yet another thing you can get when you go to Amazon.com. And if you’re an Amazon Prime member (aren’t we all?), then there are discounts and whip-fast delivery to be had. But, unlike in many other industries where Amazon can crush the competition on prices, its online pharmacy launch does not accomplish that. Brand name drugs, ones without and even with generic competition, are similarly priced to other American pharmacies. PharmacyChecker checked this out and has some good advice for consumers about Amazon’s pharmacy at Ask PharmacyChecker this week.
Overall, brand name drugs do not appear to be any cheaper using Amazon Pharmacy than what you can get using a discount card found on GoodRx or PharmacyChecker. How can they when the pharmaceutical industry has monopolistic pricing power over patented drugs? Amazon is subject to the same average wholesale acquisition costs as Walgreens. Not only do drug manufacturers have patents: they have special international trade protections where companies cannot import these same drugs from foreign wholesalers who charge much lower prices in Canada, not to mention the even lower prices in the UK and European Union countries – unless the drug manufacturers do the importing or authorize it.
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Originally published on LinkedIn.
With drug prices in the spotlight of our national healthcare debate, one could certainly view Amazon’s entry last year into the pharmacy space as a welcome development. After all, when it comes to upending traditional business models by undercutting their prices, Amazon is king. For Americans, the tens of millions who don’t fill prescriptions each year because of cost, relief can’t come soon enough. For Amazon to succeed, Jeff Bezos should consider teaming up with Senator Bernie Sanders. Amazon’s support for The Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—to allow for the importation of lower-cost prescription drugs—would be the game changer that would have American patients cheering and the pharmaceutical industry crying.
Recent bi-partisan efforts
to bring lower-cost generic drugs to market faster are a great step in
the right direction, but they don’t infuse our captive pharmaceutical
marketplace with competition to lower prices on patented – brand name –
prescription drugs. Importation would fuel that competition. An unlikely
alliance between our country’s most successful capitalist and
trailblazing, Democratic Socialist is what we need!
(more…)Tagged with: Amazon, Bernie Sanders, Jeff Bezos
If you have been watching the news, you’ve likely heard the current administration’s support for affordable healthcare, lower prescription drugs costs, and less red tape around the FDA’s drug approval process. These platform statements are powerful to a country where prescription drug costs are significant. In fact, according to an AARP report from 2015, the price of prescriptions per household amount to more than the average family’s income per year. To many eager constituents, these campaign promises create the illusion of a future of financial stability and an adequate, cost-effective healthcare system that treats people as patients instead of dollar signs. Before we pop the champagne, we need to look at both the current system we are proposing to fix and the actions that the government has already taken against these its original statements.
The Trump administration points the finger at the FDA’s current drug approval process as a major cause for high drug prices. Critics of the existing approval process believe it to be slow, full of unnecessary procedures, and a hindrance to the approval of potentially life-saving drugs. Notice, I said potentially. (more…)
Tagged with: Bernie Sanders, Consumer Safety, Donald Trump, healthcare, Palladone