Only In America . . . TM

Copyright © 2003 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.

Cheaper Purple Pills

Responding to growing public outrage about the rising costs of prescription drugs in this country – while the same drugs are available in foreign countries at a fraction of the price – the FDA today announced its Prescription Pricing Proclamation, which will impose price controls on all prescription drugs sold in this country.

"The drug manufacturers brought this on themselves because of their greed," a spokesman for the FDA said. "They've milked the American public for too much for too long, and today it stops. This proclamation ensures that the poor will no longer have to make a choice between meals or medicine, no American will have to go to Canada or Mexico to get affordable prescription drugs, and no American will have to pay more than they can afford for the drugs they need to maintain their health. As of today, reasonable and affordable prescriptions will be available right here in America, every day, in every pharmacy in the land."

The new proclamation creates four tiers of drug pricing based on income:

  • Tier 1 – Persons at the poverty level and below – prescription drugs are free;
  • Tier 2 – Persons above the poverty level and below $45K – pay the lowest international price currently being charged;
  • Tier 3 – Persons between $45K and $100K – pay 75% of the current U.S. price;
  • Tier 4 – Persons above $100K – pay 100% of the current U.S. price.

In addition to the above, all foreign customers will have to pay 100% of the current U.S. price. These prices will be levied against all drug companies with headquarters in the U.S. Foreign manufacturers will also have to adhere to the above tiers if they want to sell drugs in the U.S.

Drug manufacturers – needless to say – are apoplectic over the new pricing. "This will stifle competition and kill drug research," according to Paul Prozak, President of the Drug Retailers and Manufacturers Society (DRAMS). "Putting price controls on prescription drugs will spell the death knell for pharmaceutical houses engaged in research," he warned, "and will mean that the cures for thousands of diseases currently ravaging the country will never be found. Drug research is very costly, and it can't be continued if companies aren't allowed to make a reasonable profit."

The FDA countered by pointing out that most of the current cost of drugs is in the marketing, not the manufacturing. "The drug companies could easily lower their costs by 50% or more," the FDA spokesman told reporters. "All they have to do is cut out the million dollar prime-time TV ads, quit paying celebrity spokesmen millions of dollars to hawk their products, and use simple, generic packaging instead of paying advertising agencies to design gaudy boxes created solely to lure customers."

Copyright © 2003 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.