Cost and Impact of Pharmaceutical Drugs

Through the eyes of low-income communities: Can you afford to stay alive?

During times of sickness our brains know medicine will make us feel better and whether we decide to take some then, that is our preference. Nevertheless, we have the privilege of going into a local retail pharmacy to pick up something for our sore throat, headache or fever. On average, over the counter medications cost about ten to twenty dollars, and although not cheap, the cost is manageable for most when we feel under the weather. But imagine being on regular medication. Imagine taking a pill every day and having a monthly payment for your health and life. People in low income communities spend more money on pharmaceutical drugs than people in higher income because of lack of resources and the current cost of medication negatively affects minority communities and how their social needs are being addressed.

Not Just Pill Counters

As long as the human race exists medication and demand for pharmacist will never go away, and therefore neither will the issues about the cost of pharmaceutical drugs because someone needs to capitalize. My curiosity about the pharmaceutical industry comes from my desire to be a pharmacist and to see the impact they have on communities. Due to large retail pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS people assume counting pills at a convenient store is the only responsibility a pharmacist has. Little is known that there are so many fields pharmacist can target. For example, there is is management, teaching, research, or drug development. Compounding, a pharmacy term, is the ability to mix various personal medication to create a person’s exact body dosage. In medicine, dosage is key, amazing how something of such small dose could be so powerful to the human body. A small capsule someone could feel better or die. As you can see pharmacist hold great responsibilities.

Make Money, Waste more Money

It’s alarming to see the lack of support in spreading awareness of unfair and non-regulated prices for medication. My main intent throughout this post is to explain the difficulty that certain communities have accessing medications because of the cost. Pharmaceutical companies, government, and organizations invest large amounts of money into cancer research because it is such a broad disease. When a drug is finally created, there are very few policies in place to regulate the pharmaceutical companies’ price set cost. And with the constant increase of prices, patients, but more importantly, those of low income communities, are having to choose between filling up their prescriptions or using the money for other expenses. According to Vital Record News from Texas A&M Health Science Center failure to follow prescriptions causes some 125,000 deaths a year and up to 10 percent of all hospitalizations. These statistics should bring attention to politicians, but most to individual communities.Flicker of Hope for Children With Rare and Devastating Disease” written by Abby Goodnough and printed in the New York Times explains the fight for precious moments and additional time with loved ones. Shorter lives due to the lack of a persons’ prescribed medication should not be occurring in the United States. A better Healthcare needs to become available. “Protest High Cancer Drug Prices so all Patients with Cancer have Access to Affordable Drugs to Save their Lives” includes a statistic that “American’s have a 1 of 3 lifetime chance of developing cancer, every one of us is at risk of being unable to pay for the prescription medicines that will control and cure our cancer.” How sad is it to put a price on someone’s life, under no health circumstance should a person’s life be undervalued. The emotional drainage of having a sick beloved should be the only concern. Stressing over the cost should not be added into the pot of the already swirling mind.

Who Do We Trust?

Although my undergraduate courses so far has limited me in prescribed drugs and their connections to certain diseases, I am very interested in why there’s such a high price range. There is a group of entrepreneurs arising to help people narrow medication by locating the cheapest place to buy their prescription. In her article “New Online Tools Offer Path to Lower Drug Prices,” Katie Thomas writes, “Most major pharmacies do not list the price of the drugs they sell.” To them questioning the price is not an option because it was prescribed by their doctor a person who they trust enough to give out personal information about their health and life.

The level of trust among doctors and patients causes another dilemma when some doctors prescribe new on the market medication at a higher cost because they are bought out by particular big pharmaceutical corporations. How will patients know that the same medical relief for their illness is out there at a lower cost for the same results just under a different name? Luckily Peter B. Patch’s New York times article “In Cancer Care, Cost Matters” describes a group of doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who agreed not to give their patients a new more expensive drug that was no different from the other cheaper drug with similar results.

This shows the morals that some doctors defend and support providers that are willing to give back to their communities.

Usually new on market drugs are more expensive because corporations are trying to gain back the money invested in marketing ads. The cost of advertising and marketing should not be pushed onto patients. Legislative bills have been considered to require a disclosure about a drugs manufacturing, advertising, and marketing cost.

Why (still) Become a Pharmacist?
Pharmacy Logo Design

It might be said that by becoming a pharmacist I’m just adding to the big legal drug industry of America, but my involvement within particular communities allows me to relate and act upon social inequalities between low-income communities. My beliefs in equal medical care are very important to me. As with any social injustice, time will be needed, and over time small little acts will accumulate and come together to change the big picture. Poverty tied with diseases that are linked to costly medications need to be addressed. I believe writing about this topic will allow me to have a better sense if this is the profession I want to go into, and if so, what areas to target or consider when in the industry. Through this project, I want to learn why the cost of medication is so high and what can be done to change policies in order to give better access to people with lower income. Since government policies is not my strong suit, I am worried that I won’t be able to grasp a good understanding of this topic. The possibility of not finding a solution to lower the cost to those who cannot always afford their medication makes me uncomfortable. The New York Times published a piece by Todd Heisler, “Transcript of the Democratic Presidential Debatewhich transcribed the MSNBS Democratic candidates debate between Hillary and Bernie Sanders explaining their plans on targeting America’s Health Care. Overall, it is heartbreaking to know that people are suffering from a condition that they could manage through the help of a prescribed dose of affordable medication.

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