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posted by janrinok on Monday August 15 2016, @01:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the money,-money,-money dept.

I ran across a story in the acclaimed “medical journal”, International Business Times, about how an old PMS medication from the 60s might be an Alzheimer's cure. Considering the source, I don't put a ton of stock in the story but it was interesting enough to look around a little more. That led me first to wikipedia to learn a little more about the drug in question (sounds like it has nasty side effects), which is when I got totally sidetracked:

Mefenamic acid is generic and is available worldwide under many brand names.[5]

In the USA, wholesale price of a week's supply of generic mefenamic acid has been quoted as $426.90 in 2014. Brand-name Ponstel is $571.70.[15] In contrast, in the UK, a weeks supply is £1.66, or £8.17 for branded Ponstan.[16] In the Philippines, 10 tablets of 500 mg generic mefenamic acid cost PHP39.00 (or the equivalent of $0.88USD) as of October 25, 2014.

The numbers in wikipedia may be extreme, but not by much. Looking online, I see that thirty 250mg tablets cost at least $111 at Walmart. In an almost direct reversal of the quantity and price numbers, one hundred 250mg tablets cost $35 from a UK manufacturer, but to get the drug at that price, you must break Federal law.

The rest of my comment would be a long string of expletives which I shall omit.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Mykl on Monday August 15 2016, @02:52AM

    by Mykl (1112) on Monday August 15 2016, @02:52AM (#388061)

    I think the remedy is simpler and less onerous than this - have reps from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and other medical legislative teams visit a few other countries (e.g. UK, Australia, Canada, almost anywhere else in the developed world) to see how they manage to achieve this in their own countries. The US is about the only country in the world with such ridiculously high medical costs. No, it's not because the US are subsidising the rest of the world - it's because pharmaceutical companies are allowed to charge the prices they do there.

    I would also be _very_ interested to see how much health insurers pay for these meds vs the general public. I don't believe for a minute that the prices are even remotely similar. Perhaps if manufacturers had to offer medical goods and services to the public at the same price as they offer insurers, that might alter the cost a bit?

    Finalyl, given that this medication is well outside of any patent claims, it seems crazy that the price should be any different to other prices around the world.

    Just checked Australian prices for the branded product (Ponstan) - AUD$13.99 (US$10.71) for 50x250mg.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:13AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:13AM (#388069)

    Sure, you could do that, but translating the legislative and constitutional environment would not be easy. This is a law that would be feasible, constitutional and effective.

    But sure, I can see how it would be onerous, so we can always add a rider to the effect that the law sunsets ten calendar years after the USA's medicine costs are no higher than the median of those in the G20, measured over a calendar year with figures to be certified by the FDA, the CBO and, since this is an IP-related issue, the LoC, this certification to be repeated and checked during each of the ten calendar years of delay, and the sunset to be rescinded if the certification is no longer operative.

    You know; give them something to shoot for.