Cashing In on Generic Drugs
Generic pharmaceuticals may be raking in high dollars for global drug manufacturers, but at the same time, they’re endangering patients’ health with the prospect of users having to switch between multiple brands, the Sydney Morning Herald reported today.
In order to capitalise on the profitable, federal government-subsidised medicines about to lose their patent, pharmacists have been accused of pursuing a funding loophole that allows them to take advantage of these subsidies. According to earlier reporting by the SMH, off-patent drugs are significantly cheaper within a month after losing their patent. By acting early with suppliers, pharmacists can guarantee themselves up to a 90 per cent discount on the drugs for which they are already receiving government reimbursement.
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As other medicines come off patent, the money savings could tempt pharmacies to push different generic drugs and switch suppliers often, resulting in differing packaging and frequently changing stock, the SMH said. In turn, this would likely result in a massive headache for their customers.
'The exclusive supply arrangements between pharmacists and manufacturers and limited free deliveries of drugs … compromises patient care,'' Joe Saleh, who owns Your Community Pharmacy in Sydney, told the newspaper. ''The government funds these medications to improve the health of all Australians, but there is no point in subsidising them if Australians cannot have access to the medicines when they need them.''
A subsidy cut being implemented this month will revise the drug dispense payout amount on more than 200 drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.