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Old Oct 13, 2013, 11:10 AM   #1
jnpy!$4g3cwk
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The soaring cost of a simple breath

Interesting article in the NYT Magazine about the increasing cost of asthma (and other) medications. I have seen the edges of this in another context, but, did not realize until now one of the sources of the problem:

Quote:
The arsenal of medicines in the Hayeses’ kitchen helps explain why. Pulmicort, a steroid inhaler, generally retails for over $175 in the United States, while pharmacists in Britain buy the identical product for about $20 and dispense it free of charge to asthma patients. Albuterol, one of the oldest asthma medicines, typically costs $50 to $100 per inhaler in the United States, but it was less than $15 a decade ago, before it was repatented.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/us...me&ref=general

How common is repatenting, and, how widespread is the legal ability to do this? There isn't as much information on the web about this as is often the case these days although occasionally articles do surface:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_2990434.html
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Old Oct 13, 2013, 11:26 AM   #2
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The patent system was originally about people. A person creates something, patents it, and has 20 years to bring it to market and sell it with exclusive control on production and distribution. It was thought that this was enough time for the inventor to establish a living, before allowing competitors to join the fray. They could then retire with the public domain continuing production in their place.

Over time, people created businesses and those companies took on a life of their own. But for a business, 20 years is just getting started. So companies began lobbying Congress to extend and renew these exclusive protections. $10M a year in lobbying expenses is vastly cheaper than developing and getting approval for a new drug, and thanks to these efforts - can now have the same payoff.
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Old Oct 13, 2013, 11:29 AM   #3
lannister80
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Yup, my wife is very asthmatic/has poorly controlled asthma. Luckily, one brand of albuterol inhaler (Ventolin) is FINALLY covered at a copay of $10 each by our insurance, as of the last 6 months or so.

But for many years, we were paying $60/inhaler WITH good insurance for any kind of albuterol inhaler.

It was reparented because they replaced the propellant with a non-CFC propellant, due to CFCs being illegal. That change in a totally inactive ingredient allowed them to repatent all their formulations. *******s.

See Evergreening: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreening
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Old Oct 13, 2013, 04:50 PM   #4
appleisking
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Why we need single-payer as well as a bit of trust-busting for our lovely pharmaceutical companies.
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Old Oct 13, 2013, 09:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appleisking View Post
Why we need single-payer as well as a bit of trust-busting for our lovely pharmaceutical companies.
Big Pharma has gotten out of control. Medicare Part D was nothing but a handout to them as it forbids the US from bargaining with them which has to be the most , well at least one of the most idiotic things bush co ever did.
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