Friday, February 3, 2012
Free Market and Drug Costs
Today I read an article on the CBS News website about Rick Santorum (one of the Republican presidential hopefuls for 2012) and his opinion on drug costs. Maybe it's because my medication for CML has gone up in price from $3,000.00-$6,758.00 (monthly) over the last five years, but I think the man is out of touch with what is going on. The free market is a wonderful concept. It encourages competition, innovation, and some amazing ways to transform our society. Here's the loophole; The free market when it is not corrupt is a wonderful tool, however, greed and the free market appear to have become friends. Whenever a system becomes corrupt, no matter how good of a concept it may seem, it loses it's positive effect.
I actually agree with Mr. Santorum's thought about encouraging companies to develop these medications through incentives. However, what is the point of developing medications to help people if the cost is too much for them to afford. Wouldn't you think developing a drug that saves millions of peoples lives would be the largest benefit? Think about the ego boost! Yes money is important, but look at Jonas Salk who invented the polio vaccine--- he didn't take the kind of money these drug companies are demanding.... and I guarantee he felt satisfied with himself at the end of his life. Money isn't everything.
Many will argue there are groups that subsidize the costs of these highly expensive medications. This is true. How scary is it though to not be able to rely on your own income to save your life? Non-profit organizations that help with medication costs often times go out of business, or don't receive enough donations in a year, or lose grants. There's no guarantee those companies will be there every day for the rest of your life should you need their assistance.
I just think we have to get real about health care in this country. We don't have to go the route of Canada, (because I hear complaints about that system every time the change in health care structure for the U.S. comes up) but don't you think there must be a better way to handle all of this?