Buried under fancy-sounding terms like Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Special 301 is the real irony that availability of cheap drugs is not just a concern for the poor in an India or a China, but also for the poor back home in the US.
Clearly the goal of reducing the enormous cost burden of prescribed drugs is a legitimate one. If a drug that costs $200 a year is just as good as one that costs $2,000, restricting the latter makes sense. But the situation is not that simple.
One way you can try to save at the pharmacy is choosing a generic version of the drug, instead of the brand-name medication. But some consumers may not have that option, especially when it comes to higher-priced prescriptions.
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It's easy to understand why millions of patients with cancer, infections, heart disease, central nervous system conditions and pain get riled up when they learn there are shortages of drugs for what ails them.