10.11.04

QUOTE OF THE DAY. Malcom Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point (details or compare prices), has been doing some careful thinking about prescription drug "costs."
When it comes to drugs, though, we’re spending more and we’re getting more, and that makes the question of how we ought to respond to rising drug costs a little more ambiguous.
More specifically,
In fact, drug expenditures are rising rapidly in the United States not so much because we’re being charged more for prescription drugs but because more people are taking more medications in more expensive combinations. It’s not price that matters; it’s volume.
When it comes to policy, however, it is the mind that matters, not the heart.
For sellers to behave responsibly, buyers must first behave intelligently. And if we want to create a system where millions of working and elderly Americans don’t have to struggle to pay for prescription drugs that’s also up to us. We could find it in our hearts to provide all Americans with adequate health insurance. It is only by the most spectacular feat of cynicism that our political system’s moral negligence has become the fault of the pharmaceutical industry.
And perhaps we could find it in our minds to get the incentives right. Mr Gladwell alludes to that part of the problem elsewhere.
If doctors routinely prescribe drugs like Nexium and insurers routinely pay for them, after all, there is surely more than one culprit in the prescription-drug mess.
Ayup.

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