The prescription drug debacle defined

Chris Blackley By: Chris Blackley

Would everyone who loves the experience of buying prescription drugs please raise your hands?


Every year in the United States, doctors write approximately 4.5 billion prescriptions to help improve their patients’ health. But the instant the doctor writes a prescription, consumers fall victim to a broken system that blocks transparency and robs us of choice. As a result, 450 million prescriptions get abandoned at the pharmacy counter each year because consumers are caught off-guard, either by unexpectedly high prices or the lack of accessible alternatives.

Welcome to the prescription drug debacle.

Spending on prescription drugs in the U.S. has more than doubled in the past two decades. And Americans pay 30 to 190 percent more for prescription drugs than other developed countries.

But when consumers abandon 450 million prescriptions each year, the result is $300 billion in avoidable medical costs annually – costs borne by employers and consumers in additional visits to the doctor, trips to the emergency room, or hospital expenses. All because the condition that was originally diagnosed went unaddressed.

At its core, the prescription drug market in our country is out of sync with what is possible in today’s digital economy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

It’s a problem of cost, convenience and choice.

We spin a roulette wheel every time we fill a prescription, with no transparency into how much a drug will cost, whether it would be cheaper elsewhere, or if there are alternative options that would be effective substitutes. We passively accept this defective approach to purchasing medications that are essential to our health, even though we would never accept it for buying our groceries, our lattes, or anything else in our lives.

Gone are the days of a trusted, neighborhood pharmacist who is empowered to look out for our best interests and give personalized advice. Today, in the midst of the prescription drug debacle, pharmacists struggle to survive. Doctors are now asked to pay for additional data services and put their next patient on hold so they can search your benefits plan, decipher its coverage rules, and find acceptable pricing options to help you shop for your medications. As consumers, we have become unwitting participants in a dis-empowering system that limits choice, adds billions to the cost of healthcare, and too often forces those with the greatest need to make costly trade-off decisions.

At its core, the prescription drug market in our country is out of sync with what is possible in today’s digital economy. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We should be able shop for prescription drugs the way we buy everything else in our lives – with choice, transparency and convenience. Prescryptive Health is bringing new innovations to the prescription drug market that are empowering consumers and breaking the prescription drug debacle.  See how we’re rewriting the script.

Chris Blackley
Chris Blackley CEO

Latest Insights

View all Insights