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Pills and Money

Last week, I reported the cost of one once of eyedrops I needed would be $1,425. I compared the price to an outstanding cabernet such as  Opus One 2012, which costs $289.99. The price comes out to $11.43 per ounce. The eye drops are 125 times more expensive than the $290 bottle of fine wine. I would never think of buying such an expensive wine, but I had no choice with the eye drops.

Today, I learned about a drug called Rayos, from Horizon Pharma. Rayos releases the action of prednisone about 4 hours after you take a 5 mg tablet. The medication is conveniently timed to work when rheumatoid arthritis may be most active. The cost of a 30-day supply of Rayos is approximately $2,000. Thirty of the 5 mg pills weigh  0.005291 ounces. That comes out to  $377,994 per ounce or  $6,047,905 per pound. It is hard to imagine something to compare to the cost of this substance, but I did some research. The rarest type of Opal, the national gemstone of Australia, is the Black Opal. It is the most valuable gem of its kind. The dark gems, due to relative scarcity, are worth more than $2,300 per carat. That comes out to $333,816 per ounce, 12% less expensive than Rayos.

Drugs are really expensive. That is why we are carpet bombed with TV ads every day. They are back to back, morning, noon, and night. A friend of mine checked on the price of Jublia, a drug touted as a cure for toenail fungus. The cost for a small tube is $600. No other country in the world, except New Zealand, allows prescription drug advertising on TV. The AMA, representing more than 200,000 doctors, has taken the position the TV advertising raises the cost of healthcare and creates demand for expensive drugs when over the counter or less expensive generic drugs are often equally effective. Congress is to blame for giving the pharmaceutical lobby whatever they want.

Read more about Big Pharma and drug pricing in Health Attitude.

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