Are Drug Price Increases Always Appropriate?
You might agree this is a huge question with many facets.
On one hand, Americans desire to have access to the latest drugs, therapies, and treatments. We recognize that there is a cost associated with bringing new technologies to market and accept it.
In the specific case of medications, we generally understand that for a pharmaceutical company to deliver a new and better drug to market, they must invest in many initially promising studies, and many of them eventually fail. The costs of these “failed” initiatives must be borne by the overall financials of the company, meaning we pay more for a specific medication than it might actually cost.
Most people understand this and recognize that if we want new drugs, therapies, and innovative technologies, we accept the cost.
Now, on the other hand, there are many other examples of extremely high drug costs that are so egregious, they must be stopped and some folks should be held accountable. If not, this will continue to go on without interruption. The public is simply unaware of much of this until it’s very late in the game.
Here is an example that many of us have read about. But you may not know the whole story.
Most of us know that Mylan Pharmaceutical has been in the press for increasing the cost of their EpiPen from $57 in 2007 to over $608 for a double pack in 2016, a 550% increase. We probably all agree, this in itself seems criminal. Particularly when we know that the underlying medication, Epinephrine, has been around for many years and there was no significant “investment” that took place that needs to be recovered to create the EpiPen. (On a side note here, the annual compensation for Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan, went from $2,453,456 in 2007 to $18,931,068 in 2015, an increase of over 750%).
Now, here is what you may not know and what makes this even more disturbing.
Prior to being the CEO of Mylan, Heather Bresch (who happens to be the daughter of US Senator Joe Manchin III), worked as Mylan’s chief lobbyist.
Mylan contributed over $4 million in 2012 and 2013 in an effort to pass federal legislation that was favorable to Mylan. One specific piece of that legislation was the 2013 School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. (H.R. 2094). President Obama signed this legislation into law on November 13, 2013.
The Act says, in part: “Requires elementary and secondary schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine” (47 states are under this requirement). Mylan just happens to be the unequivocal leader in providing this medication and delivery system in the US.
Now you might still say, just because Mylan is the leader in supplying this medication, doesn’t mean this is wrong. But in addition to this legislation, and at the same time, Mylan also led a legal battle to bring its two primary competitors to their knees by once again pushing regulations that artificially raised costs of doing business for its competitors. Mylan pursued legal battles with both Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Kaleo Pharmaceuticals. Both of these companies were driven out of the market. (Kaleo subsequently came back into the market this year)
In summary, Mylan is a company that legally created a monopoly for its product through lobbying for legislation, then created artificial demand for its product through lobbying for legislation, and finally put its only competitors out of business through legal maneuvering. And we paid for all of it. – How can this be allowed? Who is looking out for the consumer?
At this point in the year your New Year’s resolution may be a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick it back up again! It’s time for a Resolution Re-start! Here are some tips to help you start back up again and it keep it going!
Start off with small, attainable goals. If you don’t work out at all and want to start, begin with one or two days a week. Once you’ve mastered that, then add on more days. It’s better to work out one day a week than not work at all!
If your resolution is to be more productive this year, choose a reasonable goal to begin. Sending out 5 e-mails a day to new contacts may not be reasonable. Instead, start with reaching out to one new person a day, or three new people a week. If you have reasonable goals you are more likely to meet them. Once you do, you can increase your goals and build on what you have already established.
Start with Accountability:
Don’t go at it alone! Choose a colleague, family member, or friend to keep you accountable, or better yet choose one who has the same goal as you! If you have someone keeping you in check you are more likely to stick with it.
Start with Rewards:
How are you going to reward yourself when you meet your goal? Make sure you have a specific goal in mind and a specific reward when you meet it. Reward even your small victories! It’s the small victories that are the building blocks to success.
Flu season is here! In the United States flu activity peaks between December and February. Every flu season is different, and influenza can affect people differently. It’s important to remember that even healthy people can get very sick from the flu. The flu spreads when someone coughs, sneezes or talks, allowing the virus to become airborne and then infect other people.
If you contract the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you stay home from work (avoid spreading the disease to others), get sufficient sleep, drink plenty of fluids and take over-the-counter medications appropriate for your symptoms.
November 15th to December 15th is the annual Small Group Open Enrollment Period. If your company was denied enrollment into a group plan because you did not meet minimum participation requirements, then this special enrollment is for you! During this time, if you have less than 99 employees your group cannot be denied for low participation. If you are interested in enrolling your group in a plan, or if you would like to receive a quote, contact us today!
With all the changes that have taken place with the Affordable Care Act, many small businesses are tempted to hang up their hat on Health Insurance and employee benefits. While it may seem like an easy way to cut cost, the cost of not providing your employees with benefits could be even greater in the long run. Employees who have ample health benefit are more likely to take care of aches, pains and sickness sooner, decreasing out of office time. Even ancillary benefits, which don’t cost much to the employer, can make a world of difference to an employee. Offering a vision plan could be the difference between an employee updating their prescription right way or waiting to do so and making mistakes on their work. Every little added benefit makes a huge difference for your employees! Employers are getting creative these days with additional benefits, including gym memberships, offering to pay a portion of student loans, paying for continuing education, and even covering cost of transportation. If you have great employees make sure they are motivated to stay productive with your company! Contact us today, we are happy to help you with creative benefits ideas!