Some of Abbott's patented drugs aren't moving well because of obsessive cost concerns.
Concerns by whom? This is where the buck gets passed. Pharmacies, overly concerned with budgets, assert "indications" to thwart physicians'(the brave ones) efforts to use drugs "off label", even when they know, or at least suspect, these efforts save lives. Physician income is penalized when costs of care exceed "fixed reimbursement" payments, so doctors settle for cheaper,lower quality regimens. Both doctors and pharmacies justify their rejection of better drugs by demanding "outcome studies" they know either a) drug companies can't afford or b) are impossible to conduct. Medicine as art has not just taken a back seat to medicine as science, it's been put in the trunk.
Without patent protections, new drugs won't get developed. Without market-based economies, no one can afford them.
The solution is a return to fee for services rendered arrangement wherein individual insurance companies offer whatever policies they want, giving consumers choice, and doctors decide what drugs to use. Uncovered costs are passed on the patient, pure and simple.
Sellhi 2000, I agree with everything you said. Problem is when the cost is passed on to the patient and the patient is less than wealthy, (given the prevailing wind in Congress) the taxpayer will end up with the bill.
When the politicians decry the rising cost of prescriptions for the elderly, they conveniently forget the reason drugs represent an ever increasing percent of elderly health care costs. There are dozens of new drugs coming on the market every year that can offer a better quality of life for the elderly. Naturally, when you buy more drugs that are newer and better than what was available before, you spend more money. People are taking more drugs today than they did yesterday because more drugs are available today than yesterday. Doesn't take a genius to figure out why dollars spent on drugs are increasing. Everyone wants to live better or healthier. Better living through chemistry!
One more thing. Losses associated with patients who don't pay (America has no debtors' prisons) would be built into the costs of care. Hospitals refusing indigents would be subject to public opprobrium, perhaps even boycotts. We reached that point back in 1988 when reports of refused service started surfacing. The problem would have taken care of itself but leftist liberals co-opted the issue before free-market social forces could close the wounds. Government involvement has been growing ever since. Let's hope Bush gets elected so we can scale it back.
Yes, even under a fee for service system there would be a safety net for the truly needy; Medicare wouldn't completely go away. But first, the bill goes to the patient, who then gets means tested for reimbursement. Far more people than just the "less than wealthy" wouldn't qualify. How and where do you draw the line? Let the legislatures figure that out. The lower the threshold, the more creative insurance companies can become to enable even people of marginal means to own insurance. Would these people have to sacrifice something? Probably. Instead of a $400 fancy car payment, they might instead choose to be insured. But they'd have the freedom to choose instead of being FORCED to be part of a taxpayer pool.