High prices and stock shortages prompt hospitals to make their own drugs.
In the US, it costs big money to avoid dying, especially if you’re counting on help from the pharmaceutical industry to keep your body going. While this has been a long-time problem, things have only escalated in recent years when companies bought up patents to drugs and jacked the price to ridiculous levels. Take the case of “Pharma Bro” Martin Shrkeli’s company Turing Pharmaceuticals: the hedge fund manager turned convicted felon became notorious for his “slap that look off your face” smug expression when he bought the patent to a life-saving drug given then hiked the price per pill by more than 5,000%.
Shortly after Turing’s poor decision-making skills went on display, a compounding pharmacy named Imprimis made a welcome announcement: they can legally produce the pill for $1.50 each, and would willingly ship it to anyone with a valid prescription.
To the rescue
This isn’t the first time a compounding pharmacy (one that actually produces the medication by combining the active, necessary ingredients) has saved the day from corporate greed; it’s not even the first time this particular compounding pharmacy saved a dying public from that specific pharmaceutical company. But it just might have sparked a new wave of medical activism.
Taking a stand
Now, four major US hospital networks have announced that they will begin “crafting” certain medications on-site, avoiding the pharmaceutical companies who continue to engage in price gouging and artificial shortages to drive up their stock value. However, the hospital network faces a whole new greed-driven threat: the manufacturers of generic counterparts to high-dollar medications. These smaller pharmaceuticals could block the hospitals from producing their own compounded generic medications, so the network of facilities is keeping quiet for now about what drugs it will be able to produce in-house.
450 hopsitals across US
This large-scale effort, which includes approximately 450 hospitals across the country and could eventually lead to hospitals buying their drugs from other hospitals rather than the drug manufacturers, will rely on basic “recipe”-driven manufacturing rather than the close-to-the-vest nature of formulas created in pharmaceutical labs. Anything that can increase accessibility to desperately needed medications while saving patients, insurers, and medical facilities money will hopefully put an end to the price gouging of the ill and injured.