Drug Scalpers Find Drugs – Sell At Incredible Markup

Some things about this sound off to me:

Why do doctor’s offices have extra stockpiles on a routine enough basis to sell them?
Do they just sell to anyone who comes to them when they have a surplus?
Why don’t pharma companies just produce more of the rare medication when they KNOW people are selling these at crazy markups? It would mean more profit for them, and people would usually prefer to go with the established entity.

via The Consumerist by Ben Popken on 8/18/11

The nation is facing a shortage of critical pharmaceuticals. Enter the price gouger. He stockpiles hard to find medications, then turns around and offers to help hospitals solve their prescription drug shortage problems, at 4,533% markup.

USA Today reports the profiteers buy the drugs from doctor’s offices or get them from distributors. The often fly-by-night outfits then fax, spam and telemarket hospitals, offering to sell their wares at a high premium. A blood pressure drug called labetalol, for instance, usually goes for $25 a dose. The gougers are selling it for $1,200 a dose.

Most hospitals refuse. But enough say yes to make the effort a profitable endeavor, which only ends up further raising health care costs for the rest of us.

Drug shortages lead to price gouging [USA Today]


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