Fighting The High Cost Of Rx Drugs

AN INDUSTRY-WIDE TACTIC—At least eight of the top 10 drug makers have paid off their competition to block generics from entering the market. The FTC estimates that pay for delay deals cost consumers and taxpayers $3.5 billion every year in higher drug prices.

It's Time To End Pay For Delay

DRIVING UP THE COST OF RX DRUGS
We all know prescription drugs cost too much. That’s partly because brand-name drug companies have been paying off generic drug makers to delay competition and keep prices high. This practice, called “pay for delay,” is commonplace in the pharmaceutical industry.
 
It's anti-competitive. It's hurting consumers. And it has to stop.

WE PAY THE PRICE
Competition is known to bring drug prices down 85-90 percent:

  • 30-day supply of the cholesterol drug Lipitor costs $194. The generic equivalent? Only $16.
  • The medication needed to prevent blood costs, Plavix, costs $205, while its generic equivalent is $13 for that same 30-day supply.
  • The antibiotic Cipro, used to treat a number of infections, costs $52; the generic costs $7.

And because drug companies can use pay for delay to maintain their strangle hold on the market long after their active-ingredient patents expire, consumers who rely on these drugs for their health are often forced to pay these higher prices for years before they see the generic.

CASE STUDY: Experts expected narcolepsy drug Provigil to go generic in 2006, but pay-for-delay deals kept the generic off the market until 2012. In the meantime, many multiple sclerosis patients had to pay over $1,200 each month for the drug, or manage without it. Bad news for consumers, but good news for the drug company. As the CEO of Cephalon, the drug company that makes Provigil, said about the deal, “We got six more years of patent protection. That’s $4 billion in sales that no one expected.”

TAKING ON BIG PHARMA
Drug companies spend more on lobbying than any other industry. But if we build enough public support, we can stop the industry's pay-for-delay scheme and bring down drug and health care costs for consumers and taxpayers.

We're calling on Congress to put an end to pay for delay once and for all.

Issue updates

Result | Health Care

KEEPING HEALTH CARE AFFORDABLE

Across the country, U.S. PIRG has stood up against unjustified rate hikes and won victories in Oregon and California so far. Thanks in part to our advocacy, California now requires insurers to justify rate hikes to the public, and Oregon state regulators recently cut a proposed 22% rate hike almost in half, saving $12.5 million for some ratepayers.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Nationwide Survey of New Health Exchanges Shows How to Lower Costs for Consumers

Many states are creating health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and other states should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by consumer group U.S. PIRG.  Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage.  Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014. The report closely examines the exchanges that have so far been set up by states and rates them according to how accountable they will be to consumers and the public, how much they can do to lower premiums and improve the quality of care, how friendly they will be to consumers, and how stable they will be.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Making the Grade

This report assesses the progress that the states have made, and for the states that have begun to set up their health care exchange, evaluates them on the myriad policies and criteria that will determine whether it is ultimately successful in improving health care for consumers.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

New Health Exchange Rules Put States in the Driver's Seat

The draft rules released today by the federal Department of Health and Human Services put states in the driver’s seat when it comes to setting up new health benefits exchanges.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace

The creation of a new health insurance exchange offers our state the chance to build a better marketplace for health care.  The exchange can help individuals and small businesses by increasing competition and improving choices in the state’s insurance market.  By providing better options and better information, and negotiating on behalf of its enrollees, the exchange can level the playing field for consumers.

> Keep Reading

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Report | CALPIRG | Health Care

Playing by Their Own Rules

Drug companies spend billions annually marketing their latest, most expensive drugs to doctors. These marketing efforts do not rely solely on scientific research and medical benefits, however; they employ a barrage of gifts, expensive meals, and wine-and-dine events to gain access to doctors. The result is that doctors looking for objective data about the efficacy and safety of pharmaceuticals are ensnared by this system, and find it increasingly easy to look to the drug companies for information.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Paying the Price 2006

During the spring of 2006, researchers from the state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) posed as uninsured customers and surveyed by phone hundreds of pharmacies in 35 cities across the country to determine how much uninsured consumers are paying for 10 prescription drugs commonly used by adults under age 65. We then compared these prices with the prices the pharmaceutical companies charge the federal government; with prices at a Canadian pharmacy; and with the results of a similar survey we completed in 2004.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Turning Medicine Into Snake Oil

Prescription drug marketers are inundating doctors, and to a lesser extent, the public, with marketing that misrepresents risks, promotes unproven uses, and makes unsubstantiated claims. The false and misleading messages are communicated through conventional advertising, sales representatives, doctors speaking on behalf of drug marketers, and through clinical trial suppression, manipulation and misrepresentation. Sadly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is ineffective at addressing the problems.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Paying the Price 2004

In late summer of 2004, the PIRGs conducted a survey of more than 400 pharmacies in 19 states across the country and Washington, DC to determine how much uninsured consumers are paying for 12 prescription drugs commonly used by adults under age 65. We then compared these prices with the prices the pharmaceutical companies charge one of their “most favored” customers, the federal government, and also with the prices paid by consumers in Canada.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Paying the Price 2003

In the spring of 2003, the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) conducted a survey of more than 500 pharmacies in 18 states across the country and Washington, D.C. to determine how much uninsured consumers are paying for 10 common prescription drugs. We then compared these prices with the prices the pharmaceutical companies charge one of their “most favored” customers, the federal government.

> Keep Reading

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PRIORITY ACTION

Tell your senator that patients can't afford to wait another day. We need to end "Pay for Delay" right now.

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