As an American, we’re acclimated to expensive prescription drugs. We make fun of it in pop culture all the time! But exactly why are prescription drugs so expensive, anyway? Are drugs really made of gold?

No. 1: Lack of Price Regulation
Although the FDA regulates how new drugs are tested, marketed, and released into the market, they don’t have any jurisdiction over the price of medication. In May 2019, the Trump administration finalized a new requirement for manufacturers to include the list price of drugs in their TV advertisements. Although it’s still hard to know the effect of this just yet, hopefully such actions will help enhance transparency and competitive pricing in the drug market.

No. 2: Drug Exclusivity Protection
New drugs are always immediately put under patent and drug exclusivity protection, with patents lasting over 20 years. This means other pharmaceutical companies can’t develop generic drugs with similar effects and compete. Unfortunately, this forces insurers to include each and every expensive drug in their policies, regardless of efficacy or price.

No. 3: High Administrative Costs
Compared to other countries, prices of labor and goods — including pharmaceuticals, devices, and administrative costs — are the “main drivers of differences in spending,” according to the Journal of American Medical Association.

Don’t be a victim of the system — if you want the best deals on medication, then use the free, nationwide nonprofit service NeedyMeds. As an AFEUSA partner, NeedyMeds is one of the best websites to help you find programs that assist with the cost of medicines and health care. All services are free and the information is easy to access and updated regularly!

NeedyMeds has information on thousands of programs that may help you with medical expenses, including:

● Diagnosis-Based Assistance — A list of programs that help with medical costs based on your diagnosis.
● Coupons, Rebates, and More — These programs offer discounts for thousands of products.
● $4 Generic Discount Drug Programs — Information on all the single price drug programs offered by pharmacy chains.
● Retreats, Camps & Recreational Programs — These programs are designed for children and adults with specific medical diagnoses.
● Scholarship — School funding based on diagnosis.
● Free & Low Cost Clinics — A list of clinics throughout the country that consider finances when treating patients. Remember, help is available for medical costs. Just give us a call or visit the website.

Become an AFEUSA member to learn more today!

Article by Charles Jackson, President of AFEUSA

Charles Jackson AFE Board