Here are the 5 most expensive drugs in the country — along with a brief discussion of how these absurd prices came to be:
1. Actimmune - $52,321
Actimmune is used to treat osteopetrosis which is an extremely rare inherited disorder whereby the bones harden, becoming denser. Patients typically need 12 single-use vials each month. At $4,360 per vial, this medicine has a total price tag of a whopping $52,321 for one month! Fortunately, osteopetrosis is not very common.
2. Daraprim - $45,000
Daraprim is typically used to prevent infection in AIDS and transplant patients. Currently, this medication costs $473 per tablet — which is actually down from a staggering high of $750. For years it cost only $13.50 per pill. Patients need 60 pills per month, which brings the total to $45,000. (If you're interested, you can read more about the history of Daraprim and its notorious price hike.)
3. Cinryze - $44,140
Cinryze is given to patients to treat hereditary angioedema, a rare and potentially life-threatening condition that causes swelling all over the body. So, what's the cost of this life-saving medication? Patients need 16 vials per month at a cost of $2,758 per vial. In total it comes in at just under the price of Daraprim at $44,140.
4. Chenodal $42,570
Chenodal is a prescription drug used to combat gallstones. It may have a simple purpose, but a months supply costs $42,570.
5. Myalept $42,137
Myalept is used to treat patients with a leptin deficiency. Patients need roughly 10 vials per month and at $4,213 a vial that quickly adds up.
What's Going On With These Prices?
So, why is it that these drugs cost so much? Is it a simple case of price gouging or are there more complex forces at play? Really, it's a bit of everything. There are certainly cases of blatant price gouging, as was case in with the Daraprim incident. In most cases, high drug prices result from a combination of regulations, internal policies at pharmaceutical companies, and the profit motive. Unfortunately, that also means there's no easy fix. It's true that most patients aren't completely on the hook for their medication costs, but even a small fraction of the price of some of these drugs is enough to be financially devastating.
Reducing Costs The Smart Way
With drug costs as high as they are, it's more important than ever to find creative ways to reign in your healthcare costs without passing the buck to employees. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to do this on your own. Keeping up with the latest in cost containment methods, modifying them to fit your unique organizational structure, and then putting them into practice is a difficult and time-consuming process. That's where healthcare consultants come in.
At Summerlin-Roberts we leverage our expertise in cost containment to provide the best possible health benefits at the lowest possible price, resulting in happier employees and leaner budgets. For more information about providing affordable health insurance that will satisfy your employees, please contact us today.