When the FDA approves prescription drugs, they become more expensive for patients, regardless of insurance or Medicare coverage, according to a Kaiser Health News article in today’s Los Angeles Times. Once the FDA approves a drug, any companies distributing unapproved versions are ordered to cease production and sales, which means patients are forced to pay higher prices for the approved versions. Some pharmaceutical experts say this is fair and logical.
"It costs a lot to come out with a new drug that meets the standards of safety and efficacy," said Dr. Tom Hazlet, an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy.
But some doctors and patient groups say the FDA is trying to make money on drugs that doctors have already safely prescribed to patients for decades. “They're charging an outlandish amount for a medicine that's available for a fraction of the price,” says a Tennessee doctor interviewed for the article.