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July 29, 1974

Cost of Drugs

Author Affiliations

New England Deaconess Hospital Boston

JAMA. 1974;229(5):520. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230430014006

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To the Editor.—  Many articles have been written suggesting means by which a private physician could reduce the cost of prescription medications to his patients. The article, "Equivalent Therapy at Lower Cost" (228:1009, 1974), alleging to help us out of our quagmire, ignores the basic factors involved.The practicing physician has little time to spend investigating drug prices, which are not available to him in usually accessible references.Millions of dollars are spent each year on "Task Forces" to find out why physicians ignore drug prices when prescribing. The answer is really simple: We are kept in the dark by the self-interests of the various drug companies. Requests for information are usually met with statistical irrelevancies ("compared with the other comparable brands," "but our drug is 2.3 times more potent," etc, ad infinitum). Requests for medication prices from pharmacies show much variation, and as we all know, inpatient pricing differs