Friday, October 31, 2008

Prescription Price War

LA Times -- One of the nation's largest drugstore chains ratcheted up a price war Thursday (yesterday), offering deep discounts on generic prescriptions amid national concern about the spiraling cost of healthcare.

Drugstore giant CVS Caremark Corp. announced it would sell 90-day supplies of more than 400 medications for $9.99 and offer discounts for cash-paying patients at its in-store medical clinics.


The price war was unleashed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the country's largest retailer, a few years ago. Since then, many grocery stores have followed suit. Now savvy shoppers can buy many prescriptions for less than laundry detergent, face cream or a pound of deli meat.

MP: Just wondering, would we have fierce competition and price wars for prescriptions under socialized medicine?

HT: Ben Cunningham

30 Comments:

At 10/31/2008 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a word, NO.

 
At 10/31/2008 11:48 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Price wars on generic drugs are not going to help the people who need medications (for survival) that are currently being price gouged by the same retailers & manufacturers. But yeah that's cool how the market has solved the HUGE problem of expensive generic drugs. Oh wait - that wasn't the problem. Nevermind. Go'bama!

 
At 10/31/2008 12:09 PM, Anonymous Michael Smith said...

No, there won’t be any such price wars and if Obama confiscates (or otherwise substantially reduces) the profits of the pharmaceutical companies -- as he has implied he will -- that will be the end of pharmaceutical R&D and the beginning of shortages of critically needed medicines and drugs.

That, coupled with his completing the government takeover of the health care industry, will doom us to long waiting times and shortages of all sorts of life-saving and life-sustaining health care.

But you can bet that for the rest of his days, Obama will have instant access to whatever healthcare he needs. YOU may die waiting on a critically-needed surgery or a drug that is now in short supply -- but HE won't.

 
At 10/31/2008 12:22 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Mr. Smith,

The situation you're explaining where the Senator gets good health care while others suffer is already the status quo. Also status quo are large profits for pharmaceutical companies.

It sounds like your afraid of more of the same thing. Want more of the same? Vote Mccain!

 
At 10/31/2008 12:27 PM, Anonymous Michael Smith said...

Michael complained:

Price wars on generic drugs are not going to help the people who need medications (for survival) that are currently being price gouged by the same retailers & manufacturers.

You invoke the term "price gouged" to make it sound as if the supplier is extorting, forcing or otherwise unfairly taking more money for the product than they "should" -- as if the person "in need" has some sort of inherent right to acquire the product on THEIR terms, whether or not the producer of the product agrees or not.

But no amount of "need" on the part of one person entitles him to take by force -- or have the government take by force for him -- the property or money of another man. If a man stops you with a gun, and demands your wallet, it doesn't matter how badly he "needs" your money, his act is theft, pure and simple.

Those in "need" who cannot afford medicine have only the right to ask for voluntary charity -- they don't have the right to charity at gun point.

 
At 10/31/2008 12:32 PM, Anonymous Michael Smith said...

Also status quo are large profits for pharmaceutical companies.

Yes, and they've earned them. Those profits belong to the owners who put their capital at risk to make those profits.

Obama, however, being the socialist looter that he is, sees those profits as belonging to him instead, to be disposed of as he sees fit. He will discover, though, after he disposes of them, that no more will be produced for him to seize.

 
At 10/31/2008 12:36 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I think the right to life applies to more than pre-birth issues. I believe our rights as Americans extend to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness (money). I also think that is the order of importance. When the pursuit of capital trumps the right to life I think there is a problem. Our current health care provisions often prefer accumulation of capital over life.

P.S. if someone has to use a mugging metaphor to describe payment for health care in your country...you have more problems than can be solved with cheap antibiotics. You need new leadership! OB08

 
At 10/31/2008 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think the right to life applies to more than pre-birth issues. I believe our rights as Americans extend to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness (money). I also think that is the order of importance. When the pursuit of capital trumps the right to life I think there is a problem. Our current health care provisions often prefer accumulation of capital over life."

Very well put. I agree 100%

 
At 10/31/2008 12:47 PM, Anonymous Michael Smith said...

When the pursuit of capital trumps the right to life I think there is a problem.

The pursuit of capital doesn't trump the right to life -- because the right to life doesn't mean the right to remain alive at someone else's expense.

There is no such thing as a right to any sort of economic goods or services. All economic goods and services are produced by someone's labor. Thus, claiming a right to such things is claiming a right to another person's labor. Only a person who believes that slavery is proper can advocate some have a claim to the involuntary, uncompensated labor of others.

The right to life means the right to engage in all the actions necessary to support your life free of anyone's physical interference. It does not mean the right to rob from your neighbor to pay your doctor bills.

 
At 10/31/2008 12:53 PM, Anonymous Michael Smith said...

You need new leadership! OB08

Trouble is, there isn't a damn thing new about Obama's ideas -- it's all recycled socialism from the 1930s that didn't work then and won't work now.

Obama is popular because he can actually pitch socialism with a straight face, as if it didn't have a perfect record of global-scale failure -- as if the 20th cnetury never occurred wherein socialism starved millions to death and impoverished millions more. Thus, he helps Democrats evade the fact that their core ideology, socialism, was a miserable failure everywhere it was tried.

It will fail here, too.

 
At 10/31/2008 1:05 PM, Blogger Michael said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/31/2008 1:07 PM, Blogger Michael said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/31/2008 1:08 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Yeah the country sure has been crap since the 1930's. You're right. Old people get a fixed stipend & some health care. Those darn socialists. We need to be afraid of them. BTW Obama is not a socialist any more than Mccain is a nazi.
Where has our country gone? I think we need more guns and tanks. Screw this health care stuff. I say be happy with the cheap drugs that Walmart and CVS decide to give you. Oh, and go to war! We have dangerous nations to defeat!

Consider why someone who supposedly "can actually pitch socialism with a straight face" is so popular. Perhaps it is because the current conditions aren't working for the populous.

 
At 10/31/2008 1:16 PM, Anonymous Ian Random said...

Michael,

For people truly in need of prescription drugs, they need only contact the company and see if they qualify for deep discounts for free drugs. My brother needed an $800 drug and was considering going to a Canadian drug site on the web. I looked-up the company and gave him their assistance # and he was able to get the drug for about the same price as the Canadian drug site. There are sites that help people do this like:
https://www.rxhope.com/

 
At 10/31/2008 1:24 PM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

Calling Obama a socialist is absolutely ridicilous. Explain to me in what way is Obama socialist?

-Because he wants to make the progressive income tax we have actually be progressive? Its not as if John McCain is arguing for a flat tax, so we are just arguing about tax bracket numbers now, not whether or not the code should be progressive.

-Is it because he wants to do the same thing with health care as the Republican governor and the "business world's candidate" Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts? There is no takeover of the health care system involved. Its just a government insurance program that is better at effectively lowering insurance costs. Even John McCain concedes that the system is broken.

-Also, someone posted a stupid libertarian diatribe about what right do we have to enforce price controls on drug companies. Well, theoretically none. But corporate American shouldn't get access to a bunch of tax incentives that I don't get. They shouldn't get tons of government printed bailout money that I don't get. And yet, they still do. So, if they are allowed to steal from me, I am more than entitled to steal from them.

 
At 10/31/2008 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Explain to me in what way is Obama socialist?"

He wants to raise taxes on taxpayers and redistribute that money to people who do not pay an income tax.

 
At 10/31/2008 2:35 PM, Blogger Michael said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/31/2008 2:36 PM, Blogger Michael said...

He wants to raise taxes on a minority of people. Less than 5% of taxpayers. A move that will help decrease taxes for more than 5% of taxpayers. Therefore giving us a net decrease in taxes! Obama wants to decrease my taxes. I say go for it.

Also, I think it is important to note that social spending does not equal socialism.

 
At 10/31/2008 2:42 PM, Blogger notnidiot said...

"MP: Just wondering, would we have fierce competition and price wars for prescriptions under socialized medicine?"

Without actually commenting on the rectitude of socialized medicine, Obama, or any of the other things soon to be ascribed to this comment: If medicine were truly socialized would a price war be possible or necessary (oxymoron, price war/socialism)? Watch out I think I hear a tree falling in the forest...

 
At 10/31/2008 3:44 PM, Blogger juandos said...

We have a neo-pinko pushing the commie econo-crapola line: "I think the right to life applies to more than pre-birth issues. I believe our rights as Americans extend to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness (money). I also think that is the order of importance. When the pursuit of capital trumps the right to life I think there is a problem. Our current health care provisions often prefer accumulation of capital over life"...

Well big boy I personally believe that YOU have the right and the RESPONSIBILITY to open YOUR wallet and shell out for these people who you think are ever so deserving of someone else's money for their health care needs...

Try Canada and take your nit-wit Obama with you...

 
At 10/31/2008 3:48 PM, Anonymous qt said...

How Obama would stifle drug innovation.

Something tells me that this decision is going to come back to haunt America. Trick or treat!

 
At 10/31/2008 3:58 PM, Anonymous qt said...

Juandos,

Now, now. Let's keep this a nice friendly game.

The U.S. currently provides Canadians with a private health care option when timely treatment is unavailable. Surprisingly, there are many citizens who don't wish to die waiting for cancer treatment or wait 2 years in pain for hip replacement surgery.

It seems a fair exchange that Canada should offer sanctuary to American political refugees. Can confirm that we got quite a few in the last 8 years.

 
At 10/31/2008 4:12 PM, Anonymous qt said...

Change you can believe in? How did Obama win his first senate seat?

 
At 10/31/2008 4:16 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hey qt, first thanks for the link to the WSJ article...

Good stuff...

Your comment: "It seems a fair exchange that Canada should offer sanctuary to American political refugees. Can confirm that we got quite a few in the last 8 years"...

Interestingly I just recently had a similer experience...

A friend I've known since the seventies who lives in Calgary and works as a clerk of courts came down here to the St. Louis area to get both a CAT scan and an MRI...

It was a real education...

My friend was told she was on a seven month waiting list for both scans if she wanted to have them in her area...

She came down here on a Monday...

I got her set up for both scans on Wednesday and also a doctor's visit the same day for a second opinion...

Her health insurance had NO problem paying off 80% of the scans but they didn't help out on the doctor's visit...

Yep! Capitalism works everytime its tried...

 
At 10/31/2008 5:15 PM, Anonymous qt said...

Juandos,

Canada's health system is recovering from a decade of budget cutting by the Liberals (yeah, those nice people who care about the little guy). You can't reverse years of underfunding overnight by throwing money at a problem. It will take years for Canada's health care system to recover from the result of short-sighted approach taken by politicians.

We see it in protracted waiting times for referrals, shortages of nurses & family doctors, diagnostic imaging equipment levels trailing the rest of the world (ie. few MRIs per capita than South Korea), and patients waiting for treatments like chemotherapy beyond medically safe limits.

Anyone who thinks that politicians rather than doctors should be running a health care system should consider what happens when there is a budget shortfall. Politicians have a habit of cutting what they figure the public won't miss right away like enrollment in medical and nursing school and long term care for the elderly, creating huge problems for someone else to try to solve.

By contrast, physicians who are in a profession for most of their adult life have the advantage that they 1)understand the issues 2) can develop processes that will improve patient outcomes and reduce expenditure 3) are accountable to a high standard of ethics enforced by professional associations 4) are liable for any errors they make

Sure, no one is perfect but politicians are not god's gift to humanity.

 
At 11/01/2008 2:12 AM, Anonymous Fred said...

Well, Michael, price gouged goes away when there are no drugs at any price. Interestingly, there are two ways to do that, the seen and the unseen. It is pretty obvious when a company stops making a drug. The loss is less obvious when the drugs never come into existence.

Canada is a good example. Drug development includes the really important drug insulin, discovered at the University of Toronto.

Oh, wait! (I love that juvenile snark. Let's do it again. Oh, wait!) insulin was discovered in 1926 and there hasn't been much of anything out of Canada since then but, you can be sure that all the drugs never invented in Canada were not price gouged.

My fondest hope for you is that you get your wish to live in a place that has no price gouging. My fondest wish for me is that I don't have to live there.

 
At 11/01/2008 5:37 AM, Blogger Don Cox said...

A national health service bulk buys common drugs. It is in exactly the same position as WalMart - it will negotiate with the drug manufacturer to try to get the lowest price. As all health services have tight budgets, the pressure to do this is strong.

 
At 11/01/2008 9:00 AM, Blogger Michael said...

"Well big boy I personally believe that YOU have the right and the RESPONSIBILITY to open YOUR wallet and shell out for these people who you think are ever so deserving of someone else's money for their health care needs..."

It's money that you're already spending. When it is combined on a national level, because of economies of scale you'd be paying less for the same service.

As for the stagnation of R&D - if the government organized a health insurance program it would not suddenly prevent companies from making profits. I think you're giving the government too much credit if you think it can single handedly take all profits away from the entire health care industry. Also, if you think we only have new developments in health care because the owners of these companies earn a lot of money, you're wrong. Giving an executive million dollar bonuses doesn't give patients anything.

GO OBAMA & his social spending ideas! Boo to Mccain and his ideas for more of the same!

 
At 11/01/2008 9:41 AM, Anonymous qt said...

Michael,

In a radio interview in 2001, then-Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama noted -- somewhat ruefully -- that the same Supreme Court that ordered political and educational equality in the 1960s and 1970s did not bring about economic equality as well.

This is a pure protect vote. I keep reading assurances that Obama will not do what he says...that he really is a centrist not a far left wingnut. We do have to look at what he has said:

Do you really support elimination of secret ballots for unions? Do you support "empathy" as a basis for judicial rulings? Do you support unilateral withdrawal from NAFTA? Have you actually looked at the program or are you just voting against George Bush?

Not everyone is so thrilled about Obama in 08

 
At 11/01/2008 7:39 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"A national health service bulk buys common drugs. It is in exactly the same position as WalMart"...

They do? Do you have a real world example of that?

"It's money that you're already spending. When it is combined on a national level, because of economies of scale you'd be paying less for the same service"...

Come on back to the real world Michael, a world where the government, any government has yet to live up to the theory of, 'economies of scale'...

"As for the stagnation of R&D - if the government organized a health insurance program it would not suddenly prevent companies from making profits"...

Is this anything like your delusional, "BTW Obama is not a socialist any more than Mccain is a nazi"? LOL!

"He wants to raise taxes on a minority of people. Less than 5% of taxpayers. A move that will help decrease taxes for more than 5% of taxpayers. Therefore giving us a net decrease in taxes!"...

So now its out in the open, Obama wants to use government steal even more from those who have the capital to invest and create jobs as a by product of that investment...

Good one!

Meanwhile back in the real world we have the following: New Data: Top 1% Pay Greater Dollar Amount in Income Taxes to Federal Government than Bottom 90%...

Yeah, Obama is going to end up redefining, "capital flight"...

Your boy Obama sure does talk the talk but he sure don't walk the walk but I'm not surpised...

 

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