Why prescription drugs are so expensive
This might be the perfect vehicle to alert people to a practice that is common in our area. Check into it, maybe it is in your area, as well.
As I said in another post, I worked for an ophthalmologist for four years. During this time I became aware of the fact that "drug reps" were routinely visiting our practice, buddying up to our nurses and desperately trying to be able to speak with our doctors, who normally did almost anything they could to avoid them.
One has to pause and think about who is paying the salaries of these drug reps. That's the first thing I thought. They had all these little things they handed out, sticky note pads, fancy ink pens with lasers and lights, mouse pads.... And they were at our practice pretty regularly.
Imagine how appalled I was the first time a drug rep brought in lunch for our whole practice! I saw the bill for a fajita dinner for 26 which was $350. Who do you think is paying that? I asked around and found out these are not isolated incidents. On any given week day, drug reps are buying lunches for entire medical practices in an effort to get the doctors to prescribe their drug. I went to our Administrator and I told him I would not be attending any more of these lunches because I knew all those folks out there who couldn't afford their prescriptions were footing the bill. Do you know what my Administrator told me? He said that these expenses come out of the drug company's advertising budget and do not affect the cost of the drug, and that doctors allow the drug reps to do this because they also leave free samples that the doctor can hand out to patients that need them. I replied that this just didn't compute. $300 spent at one practice in one day has got to filter down to the price of the drug at one point or another. And all this time I thought drugs were so high because of "research costs". Needless to say, my boycotting lunches didn't have any effect. My being vocal about why merely earned me a reputation at that office as being a "killjoy".
What I'm saying here is check into it in your area. If you're in the parking lot around noon, do you see people in suits bringing in food (they come into the office by the back door so the patients in the waiting room don't see them)? When your doctor prescribes something for you, ask if he or she knows what it costs and whether his or her practice allows the drug reps for this drug to buy lunch for their practice.
If this is done nationwide, and I suspect that it is, then we should be contacting the drug companies, or our legislators, or SOMEBODY, to get this stopped.
Perhaps drug reps have their place, in making doctors aware of new drugs available. But that's where it ought to stop. To try to bribe a doctor to prescribe one drug over another with free lunches for the staff is reprehensible on both sides of the table. --Ilene