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Letters to the editor of the New Haven Register, New Haven, Connecticut, Email to

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How 'pay for delay' is gouging you at local pharmacies

I went to the pharmacy the other day to get three prescription eye drops that I needed to use prior to a complicated eye surgery. These bottles are no bigger than the end of your index finger. Just one of them was $178. I wondered at the time why it was so expensive.
Well, I’ve found out the answer and it’s pure corporate greed. This would not be a revelation if this were just one corporation but the level of complicity within the entire industry is staggering.
What we have here is basically a conglomerate monopoly and here’s how it works: brand-name drug companies are paying off generic drug companies to not make or delay making specific drugs thereby eliminating the competition that could bring down the cost 85 to 90 percent. For example, brand name Plavix costs about $205 for a 30-day supply but generic costs about $13. This practice is called “pay for delay” and costs us $3.5 billion in higher drug costs annually. Drug companies spend more on lobbying than any other industry and what they count on is that most people don’t know what they’re up to or simply don’t know what to do about it.
Here’s what we can do about it: Call or write your state Senator and Representative and urge them to draft legislation that will put an end to this practice which although not quite illegal is simply wrong. You can also contact the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group (CONNPIRG) at 198 Park Rd., 2nd fl., West Hartford, Connecticut 06119, 860-233-7554.
Matthew J. Schons
New Haven


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