|This post is authored by Judge David Langham and shared from http://flojcc.blogspot.com/|
Alzheimer’s brings me to medication and litigation this morning. At first blush, the connection of Alzheimer's to workers’ compensation seems tenuous, but the connection comes back to pharmaceuticals, and everyone knows that from muscle relaxants, to pain inhibitors, to blood pressure control and more, pharmaceuticals play a role in many workers’ compensation cases.
Pharmaceutical companies invest huge amounts of money in the research and development aspects of medications. After they perfect something, they spend a great deal of time and money in the approval process required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In most cases, medication must be approved by a vetting panel at the FDA, without which approval is unlikely. This is not always the case, however, and sometimes the FDA even overrides its own panels to approve seemingly unnecessary medications which present potential risks to patients and society.
The reward for all that effort, time and money is a patented medication for the marketplace. The patent generally lasts for 20 years. Thus, for 20 years the company can charge “name brand” prices for the medication it has developed and generate profits that are commensurate with all of that investment, rather than merely with the cost of manufacture and distribution. Sometimes the actual chemicals involved in a medication are not very expensive and the manufacture/distribution process not complex.