Ah yes, the ultra-lucrative drug business. "Big pharma" and the third party healthcare providers have made an artform of keeping prices up. If I had a dollar for every time someone yelled at me about drug prices I would be richer than Bill Gates and Steve Jobs combined. I have no control over the prices. I am just a worker bee helping you to not kill yourself by taking the wrong med(s) and giving the wrong med(s) or doses to your precious little children (or your pet I am compounding for). I stick to the medical and sympathize with the price points. Perhaps if you paid with a "rewards" credit card and pay the bill off when it comes in at least you could get some enjoyment out of life...
The first game drug companies like to play is "We have this mega-great super-fantastic drug that is better than the one we put out 13 years ago!" So you made a slight change to drug "acid blocker" and duplicated the tests with "better" results and came up with the same side effect and drug interaction profiles. Not to mention that the "acid blocker" is going generic and OTC at about the same time and you stand to lose mucho dinero. So you use doctor prescribing incentives and "free" samples to get "mega acid blocker" on every prescription pad in the world. Don't forget contract pricing with third party insurance providers so you can screw the pharmacies that have to supply the public with "mega acid blocker" and try to pretend that the public will be healthier with a $50 copay when the generic OTC works just fine for 98% of patients at one-fourth of the price.
Another fun game is "This works better in extended release." Usually 12 to 14 years into the product life an extended release version is patented, approved and marketed. "Sleepy Time" has activity in the human body for 6 to 8 hours. The patent expiration date is coming up so we made "Sleepy Time CR." Not only are you sleeping longer but the "hangover" sure makes that morning commute fun! Did we really need "Sleepy Time CR?" Nope! For that matter you probably don't want to be on anything that makes you dependent on it to sleep.....the ace in the hole...once you start taking "Sleepy Time" you will always need to take "Sleepy Time." Oh no, now that "Sleepy Time" is available in the generic formulation maybe patients will lose interest in your new formula in order to save a significant amount of money on copays and avoid the messy "prior authorization" process to get the "Sleepy Time" in any form in the first place.
I know, you believe in the FDA. I used to until crap like this started happening. We need serious changes to the drug patent laws. The typical drug patent gives exclusive manufacturing rights to a drug for 17 years. I think that non-innovator drugs such as extended release or "altered and improved" products should only be given a patent of 5 years. With all the tax breaks the government gives there should not be any incentive to "beat the system to death with a stick" in order to make a fast buck.