PHARMA: Drugs cost too much but they work

One fundamental challenge of the next period in our healthcare system concerns drugs. We know that they are very useful in combating disease and reducing costs. We also know that, as the AP reports, drugs cost too much. The political ramifications of this will continue. For instance, Time reports on the high costs of drugs and increased Canadian smuggling. We know that those who take drugs, but are worried about the costs, are less compliant.

However, Pharmetrics is a company that has a huge database of matched Rx and medical claims, and so can tell about the impact of drugs on treatment. Their latest report concerns their study of a huge database of diabetics, and it shows that type 2 diabetics with high degrees of persistence have total healthcare costs 20% lower than others. So if you can get people to take their drugs it will save money. But if they can’t afford it, and they don’t take their drugs, then these patients will cost more in the long run.

That is the national problem with pharmaceuticals in a nutshell.

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