President Barack Obama made his desire for equal access to healthcare a priority, as proven this year by the biggest healthcare reform act since Medicare in 1965. This evolution in social policy, which required not only bipartisan support, but also the support of the American people, will absorb a large portion of this country's budget, as it aims to aide every individual in acquiring the medical attention and prescriptions necessary for an efficient recovery. Besides the proposed benefits of this reform, consumers should be wondering about the effect it will have on the efficiency of the production of new, brand-name medications and treatments by pharmaceutical companies, as generic brands take control in order to off-set costs.
Top drug company Pfizer entered licensing agreements with two generic drug manufacturers based in India, giving Pfizer rights to market over 100 drugs in the US and international markets. Pfizer, which has historically focused solely on patent-protected drugs, formed a special unit dedicated to off-patent products less than two years ago. While brand-name pharmaceutical companies entering the generic market is not a new trend, President Obama's goal of reducing health care costs by increasing access to generic products will definitely encourage new players to enter the field, while the existing ones do whatever possible to sustain their positions.
Individuals against health care reform question the composition and validity of these generic drugs coming from overseas. They also worry that new medications and possibly life-saving treatments will be introduced into society at a much slower rate, as pharmaceutical companies don't stand to make as much of a profit from brand-name drugs. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), confidence in a drug's safety is achieved in a couple of ways, most importantly, through labeling, composition, and many rounds of clinical trials. Nevertheless, these clinical trials are often limited in time and scope, and doctors are not always effective in reporting side-effects, as three positive trials may overshadow two negative ones.
Proponents of the reform believe that healthcare for all is a much needed and welcomed staple within American society, and would like longer trials to be initiated in order to ensure drug safety. Longer trials require more funding, and according to those against it, pharmaceutical companies wouldn't want to possibly undermine their products and loose profits. If the safety of a drug can be ensured, proponents believe our healthcare system is moving in the right direction, as all American's will be able to afford whatever medication is prescribed to them.
The future of our health care system has an air of controversy and mystification surrounding it, as each day brings about new sicknesses, drugs, and treatments. We can expect these elements to persist, as opponents protest over drug safety, and proponents rejoice at the notion of equal accessibility. As President Obama stated during his inauguration, "The road ahead will be long, our climb will be steep," but with the sectors of our nation ultimately unified with the common goal of providing healthcare to all American's, the future of healthcare and drug safety is hopefully a resilient one.