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Overpriced for Over the Counter

If you need to purchase prescription medications, chances are you already have medical expenses to pay.  The added expense of monthly prescriptions can quickly become overwhelming, which is why there should be programs available to help you receive a pharmacy discount on your prescriptions.

What are prescription medications?

Prescription medications have been classified as controlled substances by the CSA (the Controlled Substances Act) and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; any substance classified as a prescription medication is a licensed medication, must be regulated, and can only be attained with a medical prescription.  This prescription can only be authorized by certain medical professionals, including dentists, optometrists, advanced practical nurses, medical practitioners, veterinarians, and in some cases psychologists; but if these drugs are regulated as well as the CSA would suggest, why is it that pharmacy discounts are so necessary for the individuals who are authorized as requiring the medications to be able to afford them?

Why are prescription medications so expensive?

The high cost of prescription medications is a particular challenge within the United States, where pharmaceutical prices are amongst the highest in the world.  According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, pharmaceuticals accounted for 12.9% of the total cost of health care in 2003, while in 1993 they only accounted for 8.6%.  The fact that costs are rising, taking up more of the funds allocated toward medical care, points to the necessity for pharmacy discount programs; but who is responsible for the high cost of prescription medications?

While the media has been quick to accuse the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, the real reason prescription medications are so expensive is the cost it takes to manufacture them.  For the pharmaceutical industry, this is a long process and not one that encourages pharmacy discount prices.

•    Step 1: Discovery.  The first step is the discovery of a compound that affects a medical condition.  This requires research into the biological and chemical properties of the compound to determine how it is absorbed, distributed, eliminated in the body, and how safe it is.

•    Step 2: Testing.  The substance is primarily tested on tissue cultures in a laboratory, and when results appear satisfactory, they are then tested on animals.  If the new compound proves safe for use on animals, it is then tested on a small number of healthy human volunteers, and is afterwards tested in humans with the condition on which the compound is determined to have an effect.

•    Step 3: Application for Approval.  Once the substance is proven to be safe and effective, the company applies to the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) for a license allowing them to manufacture and sell the product.  

The FDA, however, has strict regulation policies, and if the substance does not meet approval, the company loses its product and all the money they’ve invested into it.  In fact, it takes from 7 to 10 years and approximately 5 million dollars to develop a new medication, a cost which is spent before the application is submitted for FDA approval.  The cost of all approved pharmaceuticals thus remains high in order to fund the continued research and development of new products.  However, since this cost can be taxing to those requiring medications, pharmacy discount programs are often available to help mitigate the high costs.


Getting a pharmacy discount is an exciting bonus for those who purchase medications regularly. With some prescriptions costing hundreds of dollars, any discount is a good one. By using free discount card offered by SimpleRx, you could save up to 80% on your prescriptions. Download or print it today! To know about pharmacy discount programs, you may also visit ehow.