US v German Drug prices-- for health care journalist

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I'm a health care reporter for public radio in Charlotte, North Carolina. I'm reporting on US drug prices and comparing them to those in Germany. I'd love to speak with people about their experiences. Dana Ervin DErvin@wfae.org, 917 974 7421

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You can look up drug prices here on websites such as http://www.docmorris.de

 

Many of the products will have a photo of a pink piece of paper which means you need a prescription. 

 

Many will have a price like 5 or 10€. That's what you pay if you have public health care, actually 10% but min. 5€ and max. 10 per prescription.

 

If you click on the product you'll see another price called UVP/AVP which is the actual price. Prices include sales tax.

 

Dr. will normally give you a prescription for a 3 month dose at a time so you pay the 5 or 10€ every 3 months, not every month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, LeonG said:

That's what you pay if you have public health care, actually 10% but min. 5€

I doubt there is a minimum. I remember buying some ointment with a prescription and was paying less than € 5. Agood source for checking prices is www.medizinfuchs.de as they will show where you can get the best offers (not for prescription drugs though as these are regulated).

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hello Dana, If you are only looking at drug cost here verses USA sorry to tell you but thats not reporting. So what are you really looking for? that drug prices are cheaper in socialized medicine verses US> are you planning to put that in context with all the other differences besides price? Like what happens in Germany if you happen to have a reaction to a drug? will you get a jury trial and awarded millions of dollars in pain and suffering compensation..the answer is simple NO and if you do get anything a fraction of what gets awarded in the usa. Are there constant adds that ask you to call a a law firm if you have had areaction to smething here because you may be entitled to a huge compensation award> NO. Do Drs  here prescribe something for every ache, pain or symptom, or remote sign of depression>No they also do not prescribe antibitotics and or pain medication easily if at all. I know many germans that think ibuprofin 800 is a strong pain medication. What about medical malparactice here vs usa..will you also include that within the context? IE what happens if your knee operation goes bad> will you get millions awarded in pain and suffering? Simple answer if you are lucky you will get a fraction of what usa awards are for even minor mstakes. Are you also going to look into the cost and structure of socialized insurance here vs how americans think it works IE obama care? Here even lower wage workers pay the same percent of salary as everyone else, the employer pays the same percent. If you are married and both are working both pay the same percent.  Kids would be covered under one of the persons social insurance. Private inusrance in germany, if married both would pay  working or not and you also pay for you kids policy. cost of private insurance is not that much cheaper per month especially at a older age and could be even higher for a married couple however the deductible and total out of pocket is lower. Premiums also go up with age.Will private insurance here take you with existing conditions?.doubt it or cost will reflect that.  Go to the emergency room here with no insurance  by law they are supposed to treat you but if not life or death there is a good chance you will not be seen even though that would be illegal.  Emergency room treatment here many times you are given a basic check and told to go see your regular dr. In usa every possible test is run so that the hosptial is not sued 3 months later because something wasn't done. By law in Germany everyone must have insurance... private or social this is a very important point.  The total cost of drugs here is reduced by the overall percentage of people insured, how drs prescribe, as well as how the legal system works. There are good and bad to both systems but unless cost is looked at from a entire system view its like comparing apples and oranges.If you would like to discuss let me know, but only if you plan to report on drug cost within with the medical system perspective. SInce coming to Germany I have been daignosed with a rare disease so have unfortunatley had to become a expert in how things work and how to get them done.

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18 hours ago, Dana Ervin said:

 I'm reporting on US drug prices and comparing them to those in Germany. I'd love to speak with people about their experiences.

 

2 hours ago, lunasuenos said:

What about medical malparactice here vs usa..

if you are lucky you will get a fraction of what usa awards are for even minor mstakes. 

Here even lower wage workers pay the same percent of salary as everyone else, the employer pays the same percent. If you are married and both are working both pay the same percent.  Kids would be covered under one of the persons social insurance.

Private inusrance in germany, if married both would pay  working or not and you also pay for you kids policy. cost of private insurance is not that much cheaper per month especially at a older age and could be even higher for a married couple however the deductible and total out of pocket is lower. Premiums also go up with age.Will private insurance here take you with existing conditions?.

There are good and bad to both systems but unless cost is looked at from a entire system view its like comparing apples and oranges.

 

Ge-f-ing-nau. 

 

Malpractice suits in Germany are really not much of a thing.  Unfortunately, "mortality & morbidity" conferences in German hospitals are also not much of a thing. 

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15 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

Are you looking at individual dose costs or full treatments, like chemo?

Hi Mike, I'm looking for stories of people who've been on multiple prescriptions in both countries. I'll also interview a German pharmacist so I can compare list prices. Thank you!

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49 minutes ago, DoubleDTown said:

 

 

Ge-f-ing-nau. 

 

Malpractice suits in Germany are really not much of a thing.  Unfortunately, "mortality & morbidity" conferences in German hospitals are also not much of a thing. 

Thank you so much! This story is part of a long series. I'll be looking at other aspects in other stories. This story focuses on pharmaceutical costs. Do you know anyone who can talk about their personal story in both countries?

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11 hours ago, LeonG said:

You can look up drug prices here on websites such as http://www.docmorris.de

 

Many of the products will have a photo of a pink piece of paper which means you need a prescription. 

 

Many will have a price like 5 or 10€. That's what you pay if you have public health care, actually 10% but min. 5€ and max. 10 per prescription.

 

If you click on the product you'll see another price called UVP/AVP which is the actual price. Prices include sales tax.

 

Dr. will normally give you a prescription for a 3 month dose at a time so you pay the 5 or 10€ every 3 months, not every month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Leon, Thank you so much! Yes, I'm going to use the website. But I'm also looking for a person to interview about their personal story in both countries. This is radio of course!

 

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7 hours ago, jeba said:

I doubt there is a minimum. I remember buying some ointment with a prescription and was paying less than € 5. Agood source for checking prices is www.medizinfuchs.de as they will show where you can get the best offers (not for prescription drugs though as these are regulated).

Thank you very much! Do you know of anyone who has a good personal story of costs in both countries?

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37 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

Americans pay on average nearly four times more for drugs than other countries – in some cases, 67 times more for the same drug.

 

The global pharmaceutical marketplace is huge and diverse.  Glib statements like the above are misleading and have an agenda.

Who pays how much for what and where and at what point in the distribution chain is a complex series of discoveries that cannot be reduced to a simple slogan.

The OP furthers this oversimplification with anecdotal reporting.

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35 minutes ago, catjones said:

 

The global pharmaceutical marketplace is huge and diverse.  Glib statements like the above are misleading and have an agenda.

Who pays how much for what and where and at what point in the distribution chain is a complex series of discoveries that cannot be reduced to a simple slogan.

The OP furthers this oversimplification with anecdotal reporting.

Could not agree more..simple cost comparisons of what it cost me in usa verses germany without all the other complex issues behind them are meaningless.

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3 hours ago, Dana Ervin said:

Hi Leon, Thank you so much! Yes, I'm going to use the website. But I'm also looking for a person to interview about their personal story in both countries. This is radio of course!

 

 

Sorry I don't know anybody.  Although I did live in the USA at some point, it was as a student and I was young and healthy back then :)

 

7 hours ago, lunasuenos said:

Here even lower wage workers pay the same percent of salary as everyone else, the employer pays the same percent. If you are married and both are working both pay the same percent.  Kids would be covered under one of the persons social insurance. Private inusrance in germany, if married both would pay  working or not and you also pay for you kids policy. cost of private insurance is not that much cheaper per month especially at a older age and could be even higher for a married couple however the deductible and total out of pocket is lower. 

 

True, Germany has a forest of different insurances and some people can't get public and many more can't get private.  There is a law that you must have insurance*  If you are on unemployment benefits or welfare, public insurancei is paid for you.  If you are working as an employee making more than 450€ a month**, your employer is obligated to withhold 8% of your wages to pay for your public insurance and the employer has to fork out another 7.5% for you.  If your spouse is working but for under 450 a month, your spouse is covered under your public insurance.  If they are making more, they have their own.  Kids can be covered under your insurance in public.  As an employee, you can not opt for private insurance unless you make more than a certain amount of money, 64,350€ per year right now.  If you opt for private, you will pay whatever it costs and you can get it cheaper if you choose a high deductible but pre-existing conditions will not be covered and your premiums may go up the more expensive you get for them and you pay extra for spouse / kids.  A self-employed person can usually choose unless they came here from a non-EU country and never had public insurance in any EU country.  Then they may find that public will not take them.

 

*In spite of this law, it is possible to live in Germany and not be insured.  For example if you are working under the 450€ limit along with possibly working under the table and you did not arrange insurance for yourself.  This sometimes happen to EU nationals who come to Germany to work, don't know the law, take a 450€ job in a café or restaurant but work more under the table.  In some cases they may find out after a year or two when offered a full time job that they've collected a good chunk of fines for being uninsured making it impossible for them to get insurance without paying the fines.  Self-employed can also fall on hard times and if you don't pay your premiums for a couple of months, even with public, they will freeze your account.

 

**under 450€ a month (about 47 hrs. per month on min. wage) is called a minijob here and falls under different taxation, i.e. doesn't get taxed at all unless you have two of them.  It's meant as a side job for a student, a spouse who is mainly a homemaker or for someone who already has a full time job.  That's why it doesn't come with health insurance because it's assumed that you will be insured through your parent, spouse or your other main job.  Businesses that operate on a large scale with cash payments may make it simple for themselves by hiring workers on a mini job basis and then paying them under the table.  Germans still use cash a lot and there are still small restaurants and cafés here that don't take cards at all.

 

As for malpractice suits, it's true, you don't get insane amounts of money here if your surgery gets botched.  You do however get sick pay from your health insurance for something like up to a year, you did not have to get into debt to pay for the surgery in the first place and you don't have to get into debt to pay for a follow up surgery to fix the first one.

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