In the warped world of prescription drug pricing, generic drugs can cost more than branded ones, old drugs can be relaunched at astronomical prices, and low-cost options are shut out of the market. In Drugs, Money and Secret Handshakes, Robin Feldman shines a light into the dark corners of the pharmaceutical industry to expose a web of shadowy deals in which higher-priced drugs receive favorable treatment and patients are channeled toward the most expensive medicines. At the center of this web are the highly secretive middle players who establish coverage levels for patients and negotiate with drug companies. By offering lucrative payments to these middle players (as well as to doctors and hospitals), drug companies ensure that inexpensive drugs never gain traction. This system of perverse incentives has delivered the kind of exorbitant drug prices - and profits - that everyone loves except for those who pay the bills.
While the shockingly high prices of prescription drugs continue to dominate the news, the strategies used by pharmaceutical companies to prevent generic competition are poorly understood, even by the lawmakers responsible for regulating them. In this groundbreaking work, Robin Feldman and Evan Frondorf illuminate the inner workings of the pharmaceutical market and show how drug companies twist health policy to achieve goals contrary to the public interest. In highly engaging prose, they offer specific examples of how generic competition has been stifled for years, with costs climbing into the billions and everyday consumers paying the price. Drug Wars is a guide to the current landscape, a roadmap for reform, and a warning of what is to come. It should be read by policymakers, academics, patients, and anyone else concerned with the soaring costs of prescription drugs.