I spent a good portion of my day trying to help a patient with her medications. She just got out of the hospital after having 4 cardiac stents put in place. Her cardiologist put her on 4 name brand, very costly drugs. She is a contractor where I work and has no medical insurance. All told, her medicines cost a quarter of her gross monthly salary.
Have doctors never heard of the $4 prescription plan offered by several chain pharmacies? There are plenty of generic beta-blockers, calcium blockers and cholesterol medicines. She says she asked her doctor if there weren't some generic alternatives, and he told her no. Now, I realize I'm not a cardiologist, but surely some of these $4 drugs are just as effective as the pricey, brand-new, shiny drugs.
Of course, pretty drug reps in short tight skirts don't offer you glamorous trips to exotic locations for prescribing generics.