DECEMBER 9, 2016 – ONE OF THE MOST NOTORIOUS PRICE-GOUGING SCHEMES IN RECENT YEARS INVOLVES A 200 YEAR OLD DRUG. THANKS TO THE GOOD-OLD FDA, THE PRICE INCREASED 5000% OVERNIGHT.
Doctors have been prescribing Colchicine for over 200 years. It’s made from a poisonous, European flowering plant commonly known as the Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) and it has been used for years as an anti-inflammatory, most often used to treat patients suffering from gout. Thanks opportunistic pharmaceutical companies, however, the price of this tried-and-true remedy has spiked.
Both drug companies AND pharmacies have free reign to charge whatever they want in the United States. For brand name drugs, this often leads to exceedingly high prices, because the pharmaceutical company that owns the patent has a monopoly. But for generic drugs thee is supposed to be competition in order to bring down the price. So what went wrong with Colchicine?
Colchicine, it turns out, is so old that it predated the FDA-approvals system. In 2007, the FDA took regulatory action to remove it and other unapproved drugs from pharmacy shelves. There were plenty of good reasons for the FDA to do so. Unfortunately, the FDA also made the decision to give URL Pharma’s branded version Colcrys a seven-year monopoly. For a 200 year-old drug!
Now, all these years later, generic competition is permitted and yet the price is STILL outrageously high. Colcrys is $8.67 per pill. A branded competitor, Mitigare, sells for $7.55 per pill. The generic, meanwhile, can be had for $5.90/pill or for $2.40/pill if you happen to have a coupon. Of course, you could just as well go to Canada (or online) to get the drug for just $0.41!
No wonder medication non-adherence is such a big problem in the United States.
Read the full article (and compare American and international and online prices) at PharmacyChecker.com