Another day another story of big pharma greed !

The more you look, and you don’t have to look too far, the more you realise big pharma morals are no better than a Columbian drug cartel. The item below was written by a Doctor working in the NHS. It beggars belief  this practise goes on. I have come to expect nothing less from big pharma, the Mafia are angels by comparison, but why have employers of the NHS or Government Ministers allowed this lunacy to take place ?


"In fact, I think it is such a good idea, that I would like to make some suggestions for how they could take things even further - by looking at some of the bizarre, irrational and often downright scandalous anomalies that exist within the drug tariff.

Take nebivolol, for instance, an important beta-blocker for some cardiac patients. It comes in both 2.5mg and 5mg tablets - how can it possibly make sense that the half-strength tablet costs the NHS over 30 times as much as its stronger counterpart? The anti-depressant paroxetine is similar - the multiplication factor is less extreme, with the 10mg tablet being only 6 times more expensive than its 20mg cousin, but the illogicality and blatant unfairness is the same.

Lest any doctor get wise to the fact that lower strength tablets might be more expensive, we have the opposite situation with omeprazole. For most drugs it is more expensive to prescribe two low dose tablets than a single tablet of a higher dose- but 40mg omeprazole is twice as expensive as the equivalent dose in 20mg tablets. I have to ask my patients to swallow their pills twice as often, but most are more than willing once they realise it is the scarce resources of the NHS which are at stake.

Even if I prescribe the drug perfectly, price inflation can still happen in the most unpredictable way before the medicine leaves the pharmacy. The breast cancer drug letrozole is a prime example. It is only given as a 2.5mg dose, so what could possibly go wrong? Well, it turns out that pack sizes can make all the difference. If the drug is issued in packs of 14 the price is £1.89, while packs of 28 cost a staggering £73.24. What is going on here? A pharmacist who is on the ball and gives 2 packs of 14 will be saving the NHS nearly £70 a time - but if they all did that then how come the packs of 28 would manage to sell?

How am I meant to know all of this? Can I remember it all, each and every time I prescribe? Even if I could - do we want doctors to have to learn the prices of drugs? Wouldn’t we rather they spent their time keeping up to date with real medicine instead?

There can only be one reason why these pricing anomalies occur - bombard and bamboozle doctors enough with confusing prices and some of them won’t notice, leading to vast sums of money bleeding its way into the coffers of big pharma."

Full story here.

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