This is just outrageous!  I just have to share … and ask for wisdom.

I take a medication for inflammatory arthritis … and I am covered by Medicare.  Medicare is prevented from “negotiating” drugs pricing, due the the Kickback laws. If a drug company discounts medications to Medicare customers, it is viewed as a bribe. Those under commercial insurance policies are not restricted that way.  

SO … I get to pay $1591 for a one month supply (while in the Initial Coverage and “Donut Hole” coverage), which is about 25% of the negotiated list price. It goes down to 5% of the list price only after I am $8000, out of pocket.  

THAT’S RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE, given that those with commercial insurance can pay $10-20 copay per month!  $1591 vs $10???  Who benefits with this plan?  Certainly the PMBs and drug manufacturers are making $$$.

I started searching … and found that the cost of the same generic medication from Glenmark Pharmaceuticals in India is WAY LESS!  Through a Canadian pharmacy, I can pay $33/month!  I was wildly lucky to have a friend who is visiting her family in India this week. She went the a local pharmacy and picked up, WITHOUT PRESCRIPTION, a 3-month supply (180 tablets) for $68!!!!!  That is $23/month or $0.76/day!  

Why are drugs THAT MUCH CHEAPER in India? 

It’s a mandate focused on generic medications.  The government of India has taken an initiative for free supply of essential medicines in public healthcare facilities in the country aiming to provide affordable health care to the people by reducing out of pocket expenses for medicines. This initiative has been undertaken to promote rational use of medicines and reduce the consumption of unscientific and hazardous medicines. Read more: Essential Medicines: An Indian Perspective

There is one outstanding question:  What is the quality of the generic meds from India?  I just don’t know but I’ll find out.

SO … how do I manage my extreme outrage and frustration?  How do I affect change? 

I’m open to any suggestions or ways to sound the alarm and get some action and attention!  Our system in the US is broken and while there are some steps to begin to remedy the situation.  But this is just simply crazy!

Thanks for reading my rant! 

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