I'm actually no longer even bothering to use the drug plan that comes with the health insurance policy I pay for. Unbelievably, even though I am paying the insurance company to subsidize the drug costs with that plan, the net cost of buying my medications is less when I completely ignore the plan and buy all my medications without any insurance involvement.
Additional to the free drugs and $4 drugs, I buy a K-Mart plan for $10/year which gives me one of my blood pressure meds for $12 (90 pills) that would cost a lot more if bought through the drug plan.
And the only med I can't get from those sources I get from a Canadian pharmacy for a fraction of what I would pay otherwise.
And I'm not alone on this. My friend just got on Medicare. If she uses the drug plan that comes with the Medigap policy she's buying, one damn drug out of the many she's prescribed is going to put her in the "doughnut hole".
The retail value of that drug is $3500/year. The doughnut hole starts at $2900. If you're not Medicare and don't know what the doughnut hole is you can google that.
We've figured out that she can buy the drug from Canada for $171 (for 90 pills) which is only about twice what her co-pay would be using the medigap drug plan. BUT since she won't be adding a retail value of $3500 to the running total for the doughnut hole, buying the drug from Canada could save her into the thousands.
There is one word which explains all this. Competition. These corporations are having to compete and that's what's lowered the price of these meds.
Walmart started this to attract customers to the store. Target had to compete and follow suit or they would lose customers to Walmart. And then other retailers had to do the same.
That is what brings the costs down.
But it shouldn't have to end with medications. These same corporations could be in the business of delivering primary medical care and if they were doing so, the same scenario of competition would occur.
Instead of doing nothing to control these skyrocketing costs, the government should be fostering that as a partial solution.
Private enterprise engaged in full-out competition is the ONLY way to get control of these costs. Period.