Imagine for the past several years you have been taking a certain prescribed medicine as requested by your physician only to find out on the next visit that they change the prescription to another new drug you've never taken before. You might start asking yourself important questions, and fearing that your condition has worsened, or that the previous medicine wasn't working as well anymore. What's worse is you find out from your local pharmacy the price of the new medicine is substantially higher than what you paid for the previous one. What's going on?!?!

We have to rewind a little bit and go back to 1994 where congress passed the law to extend patents on the pharmaceutical industry from 17 - 20 years. Basically what it means is once a drug has made it's way to the US market it would take 20 whole years before that medicine becomes generic. This is huge business for big pharma companies in the United States as it prevents a patient from obtaining a low cost generic from any US pharmacy. Unless the person would have health care coverage either from their employer, or a private firm, the patient has their hands tied and must pay out in full from out of their own pockets.

"Some doctors in the United States work closely with the pharmaceutical industry for certain benefits... receiving compensation..."

Certain other countries such as Canada, Germany, India, Mexico have patents that last just a few years which allows the big-name drugs to go off patent and to be provided at a low cost to its citizens. 

One recent case has been made in the United States within the past 2 - 3 years involving a medicine called Plavix. Plavix had finally come off patent after 20 years of being on the market, and now can be widely available in generic form at any major pharmacy for a low cost. 

Big pharma understands this isn't good business to let the American public in on a generic alternative, so they market and develop a "newer" medication that has been slightly tweaked so that they may release it under a different name so that there will be another 20 year patent on the new drug. One of those medicines that have been replaced by Plavix is called Eliquis, and the pharm industry is pushing the sale and distribution of this medicine. 

Some doctors in the United States work closely with the pharmaceutical industry for certain benefits whether it's just for information on newly released meds or more sinister things such as receiving compensation for the number of certain medications prescribed to patients over the course of a year. This once again is only some doctors. For the most part, doctors have your best interests in mind and strive to keep their best foot forward when dealing with your health.

If you the person are reading this blog and feel that you have fallen into the same category then you need to speak with your doctor. You cannot sit idly by while you pay an exuberant amount of money on a new medication without knowing if it will even work as well as the older one was.