A recent post about UPS and FedEx getting more involved with healthcare logistics mentioned that one reason for the trend is the pressure on hospitals and insurers, to cut costs. Shipping companies can move temperature sensitive drugs and consumables quickly and cheaply. So, more business is going their way.
The article mentioned that access to affordable drugs has become an acute problem for Americans. It used the example of mothers of children with Type 1 diabetes who live in Minnesota crossing into Fort Frances, Ontario to buy insulin at a fraction of the cost they would pay at home.
The London Guardian picked up the theme today. This time it was mothers from Indiana, crossing into Windsor from Detroit on Sunday. They took Democratic hopeful and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders along for the ride.
The article said in part:
“Sanders’ northern sojourn, a trip his campaign sponsored, was designed to highlight the rising cost of prescription drugs in the US, which the senator said was the result of “incredible corruption and greed” on the part of the US pharmaceutical industry.
“How does it happen 10 minutes away from the American border in Michigan, people here are paying one-10th of the price for the vitally important drug they need to stay alive?” Sanders asked, calling the disparity a “national embarrassment”.
“In his remarks outside of the Olde Walkerville Pharmacy in Windsor, Sanders vowed that as president he would appoint an attorney general to investigate the pharmaceutical industry for what he described as “collusion” between the major drug companies.”
Sanders is advocating a Canadian-style system which is unlikely to happen. His comments about corruption and greed are also carefully timed political theatre. The U.S. system may be all those things, but it has evolved over time with the consent of all parties – governments, industry and the governed, who did not advocate enough to change it.
But if the Democrats gain control of the House, Senate, Oval Office, or any combination thereof, things may change.
The issue highlights why companies like UPS and FedEx see opportunity in healthcare logistics.
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