The experience of shopping for our medications is awful. We spin a roulette wheel every time we fill a prescription, with no transparency into the cost of the drug or whether there are appropriate alternatives that could make medications more accessible or provide cost savings. We are unwitting participants in a disempowering system that limits choice, adds billions to the cost of drugs, adds hundreds of billions to the cost of healthcare, and too often forces those with the greatest need to make costly trade-off decisions.
It’s something I call the prescription drug debacle.
The dysfunction of our prescription marketplace is made worse by the absence of an advocate who looks out for our best interests. We used to rely on our trusted neighborhood pharmacist to advise and guide us, but in the current structure they are victims themselves — struggling to financially survive while being captive to a system that creates obstacles in the way of providing quality care. Insurers are financially motivated to either pay as little as they can for our medications or, in some cases, profit from them. Pharmaceutical companies are incentivized by the system to treat every condition with another prescription, instead of being compensated for the positive results of their product . Where does this leave the consumer?