What are Hospitals Doing to Combat Expensive Medications?

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High drug prices are affecting everyone, hospitals included. Pharmacies, whether located within the hospital or privately, often supply drug products for administration in hospitals or the health care system overall. The problem that many hospitals all over the U.S. are experiencing is the high cost of these products – leaving many hospital staff members to scrounge for alternatives to keep the costs down. According to ABC News, many hospitals are now taking action to combat these high prices: they are working to create their own generic drug company.

Rural hospitals are facing numerous risks by running out of stock on their medications, simply because they are so expensive. When this happens, patients are often left with sub-par medications or at risk for not having any at all. The National Public Radio covered a story that involved hospital pharmacist Mandy Langston, who has expressed her concern for providing sufficient medications to patients. It was stated that when it came time for her to restock the medication Activase last year, it was so expensive that she left a reorder unfilled for more than a week, anxiously keeping only one dose on hand in case it was needed. She stated, “If we don’t keep this drug [in stock], people will die.”

The non-for-profit drug company that is being created will be supported by four main hospitals: Intermountain Health, Ascension, Trinity Health, and SSM Health, along with the VA health system. Together, these hospitals total more than 450 hospitals and many other health facilities, according to ABC News. Representative Gerry Connolly entered a conversation with Valeant Interim CEO Howard Schiller regarding the decisions many hospitals have made. He stated, “Given the choice between higher prices and risking the health of their patients…you’re forcing hospitals to choose…almost holding the patients as hostages.”

Hospitals are struggling in the United States, and this action is a clear indication of that. The argument is that if hospitals utilize their own generic form of drugs, higher prices could be given to the patients time in the hospital to make up for those costs. We will see as this comes more into fruition how this new company’s actions will change the climate for drug production within the healthcare system.






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