This is something I’ve been watching and worrying about for a while and I’m glad to see that this topic is finally getting some press. No, it’s not the Mediscare that the Democrats are talking about, but it is something to be concerned about. Very concerned.
There are a myriad of reasons that this would occur, some will blame the economy, red-tape, legislation. In fact, I think that those reasons have added to the medicine shortage. But from my point of view, the biggest problem is that larger drug companies are buying out the smaller companies. The supply of cheaper American-made generics is losing out to the production of brand-name heavily promoted drugs.
First example? Plain old eye lubrication ointment. Nothing special about this stuff – it’s petrolatum that is ophthalmic grade. But in the last six months the price of a little tube had quadrupled. But you can still get it, if it isn’t on backorder. And that’s just the stuff without any medication in it.
The next example – injectable medication for treatment of heartworm positive dogs. The old stuff was economical and effective (an injectable arsenical compound), although treatment could always be dangerous and deadly (you know, the Old Lace kind of poison). But I can say I never lost a patient, thanks to zealous attention to changes in patients’ medical conditions and some luck. Unfortunately, this drug was made by a small company that got bought out by a big drug company (one of those Pharma’s) that had produced a new (and only FDA approved) heartworm treatment. Here’s their MO: buy up the little company, have the EPA declare the factory a hazardous waste site due to the presence of arsenic, and start selling the heck out of your new drug. The problem? There isn’t enough of the new drug manufactured to treat all of the heartworm positive dogs, and you can only get their drug if you can pass their compassionate care guidelines.
Less available and more expensive, and sounds like a giant conflict of interest. I do think that drug companies do need to have a profitable business plan and reap the benefits of years and $$$ put into research (and we only see the successful drugs). But new business plan of getting rid of the small competition is going to bite us all in the rear.
All of those $4 drugs from Walmart are available because Walmart purchases on such a large scale and because they are willing to take a loss to get you inside the store. Good for them, good for you as an individual, but not so good for the drug industry. No Profits + No Protection = No Products.
Many of the generics now are being purchased from overseas suppliers, especially in India and Asia. Although this is good for their economies and global trade, consumer beware! Many of these medications are not what they seem – they can have different quantities of medicine or look different from how they are normally distributed – possibly not being as effective as usual. But worst of all, they can be adulterated, meaning they can have toxins or other compounds present in them that may actually be detrimental to the patient taking the medicine.
With my fibromyalgia I’m on a lot of meds, and I’ve noticed that certain meds seem to act different from bottle to bottle. Is is me? Or is it the meds? I’m starting to wonder…
Don’t be afraid to question your doctor and your pharmacist to make sure you are getting good quality medicines, preferably made in the USA. Your health may depend upon it.
Don’t be afraid to bring this issue up to your representatives…your future health may depend on it. Don’t take my word for it, do your own research.
Until next time…