Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Generic Pharmaceutical Scandal

Too often I've had to bite my tongue as doctors have been scapegoated by government for the costs in medicine. In contrast I've argued frequently that the failure of government to address the costs of 'defensive medicine', what doctors do to protect against lawsuit which really are unwarranted from a strictly clinical basis accounts for the majority of medical costs in the country.

I've been wrong. It turns out that literally billions of health care dollars can be accounted for by what most would call 'graft' in the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical companies make new drugs. They spend fortunes on research and marketing.

Generic drugs are purportedly 'cheaper' and government has been quick to reduce the 'copyright' of the originators of drugs so that the 'generics' can make 'knock offs' for the benefit of patients.

In Ontario today though the Health Minister has come head to head with the extraordinarily wealthy generic companies because each of these competing with the other generic company has made a sweet deal with each pharmacy only to supply their particular 'generic' 'brand'. The result has been that literally half of the health care budget for medications can be explained by this 'business practices' which had to date not been addressed by government.

Other Ministers of Health are following up on this and the likelihood is that Canadians will collectively benefit.

I only bring this up because frankly I've long been weary with the chronic criticism of doctors by those who like to make themselves taller by 'cutting off the heads of others'.

That said it's the pharmacy business owners and not the lowly pharmacist who works for the pharmacist. This was the same for the hospitals where the 'smart' business practices of administration would get blamed on the doctors.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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