Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Musing About Medicine

Firstly, I will admit that this is an ad for an alternative-medicine book, but the numbers are mostly correct. Also, I've seen much of this first hand in my own health and healthcare. I have been on Norvasc to control my hypertension for some time now. It lost it's patent protection a few years ago, leading to the introduction of reasonably priced generics. To combat this, Pfizer introduced a combined drug called Caduet that includes both amlodipine (a.k.a. Norvasc) and a still-patented statin drug, Lipitor. This has led many doctors to prescribe Caduet instead of amlodipine and a statin separately, thereby preventing patients from having access to generics. Also, many doctors are prescribing Caduet as a preventative, despite the increase in cost and associated risks of statins. I know this was the case with my healthcare; I was prescribed Caduet despite not having any indications for statin use. Also, with my insurance, Caduet cost me over $70.00 USD. Whereas, the brand-name Norvasc cost about $20.00 USD. The real shock came when I was finally able to switch to generic amlodipine: $5.00 USD! All of this in the name of profit, not healthcare.