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Why is Myrbetriq So Expensive?

December 16, 2020

high drug prices

There isn't a single classification of medicine that isn't subject to extraordinary prices in the United States. You name the disease, disorder, or condition, and it will have expensive medications associated with it. Therefore, overactive bladder and its possible treatments are no different.

Myrbetriq (mirabegron) is one of many drugs that our customer service members discuss with callers on a frequent basis. While not a matter of life or death, Myrbetriq helps treat a condition that many people find to be embarrassing, or anxiety-inducing: overactive bladder. As a result, people are unlikely to skip this medication because it's too expensive. It's one they'll seek out.

Of course, Myrbetriq is expensive. Here's how Myrbetriq works, how much it costs, why it's so expensive, and most importantly: how you can find it at a more affordable price.

What is Myrbetriq?

Myrbetriq is a brand name medication that utilizes the active ingredient mirabegron. It was approved in 2012 for the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB).

Mirabegron is a beta-3 adrenergic agonist, which refers to a classification of medication that selectively binds to beta-3 adrenergic receptors. Researchers have been studying this medical classification for years in relation to obesity and diabetes, but in the end, it was found to have a more helpful effect on overactive bladders.

What Myrbetriq does is relax the detrusor, which is a muscle in the bladder that contracts in order to dispel urine, and relaxes in order to hold it. Its fibers are interwoven, which allows the muscle to stretch as it fills with urine. If the detrusor is too tight, you might feel a frequent urge to urinate, which is medically classified as overactive bladder syndrome.

Why People Develop Overactive Bladder

There isn't one specific cause that leads to an overactive bladder, but there are many things that increase the risk factors. While anyone can develop OAB at any age, the risk gets higher with age. Furthermore, certain diseases and disorders that are also more likely to form with age can contribute to an increased risk as well, such as diabetes, enlarged prostate, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and muscular decline.

There are some strategies that people use aside from Myrbetriq to treat the symptoms of OAB. Oftentimes people will stick to a fluid schedule (i.e. only so much fluid in an hour, not after a certain time of night, or for a period of time before driving), change in diet, and scheduled bathroom breaks.

How Much Does Myrbetriq Cost?

As one would expect, Myrbetriq is much more expensive in the United States than it is basically anywhere else. In the U.S., you can expect to pay about $468.00 for a 30-day supply at the 25 mg dose, which works out to be nearly $16.00 per pill. One major factor here is that there is no generic available in the United States that would create competition and help draw the price down.

At NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can expect to find brand name Myrbetriq at a much more affordable price — the same 30-day supply at the 25 mg dose can be purchased for about $110.00, or about $3.67 per pill. Additionally, we have access to a generic version of Myrbetriq that is even cheaper. The same supply is about $84.00, or $2.80 per pill.

Why are Prescriptions Like Myrbetriq So Expensive in the United States?

The reasoning behind prescription drugs being so much more expensive in the U.S. than everywhere else in the world is complicated, to put it mildly. There are plenty of circumstances in play, some of which are accidental — more just a result of the healthcare system in America — but others are entirely intentional and a result of intense lobbying efforts.

How Patent Law Plays a Major Role

One of the major factors in the exorbitant cost of medication in the U.S. is the complex world of patent law. When a drug receives a patent, the drug manufacturer is given a period of time in which they have exclusive production and distribution rights. This means that no other manufacturer can use their formula to create a generic version that would theoretically cost less than the brand name drug.

The patent protection period is designed to help the pharmaceutical manufacturer make back the money they spent on research and development and all the other expensive and time-consuming parts of creating new prescription drugs. The end result is essentially a government-granted monopoly. Of course, other companies can use the same active ingredient to create a competitive drug, but the patent laws in place will not allow them to use the formula or any patented part of the delivery method.

In most circumstances, this is a 20-year period of time. The main issue here is that manufacturers are sometimes able to get an extension on their patent protection period by changing the formula or the way it's dispensed.

During this patent period, manufacturers tend to charge the highest amount that they can — and really, nothing is stopping them from doing so.

Lack of Government Oversight

In most countries, pharmaceutical companies are restricted by their national government from charging prices that are considered outside of most people's budgets. Each country does it a little bit differently, but the end result is the same — their wholesale or retail price is capped. It's not such a pitiful sum that the company can't make a profit from the sale, but it's often a low enough price that it's accessible for citizens.

In the United States, this is entirely the opposite.

There is no policy or procedure in place for the U.S. government to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies. This is in large part because they've chosen to leave their healthcare system (and therefore, their prescription drug industry) up to capitalism. The theory of course, being that supply and demand will self-regulate the price of goods even though the manufacturers of the goods are being given government granted monopolies.

While this is often effective in many industries, it's clearly not working out so well for the Americans. Healthcare spending in the United States far exceeds every other industrialized nation, and this is true in all aspects of healthcare — hospitalization, doctor's fees, and prescriptions. Because of the complexity of the health insurance system and medical billing, it's difficult to find real costs for medical care, but for prescription drugs, the answers are very easy to find.

There are countless examples of medications being outrageously priced — in fact, the overwhelming majority of drugs sold at NorthWestPharmacy.com are more expensive in the United States. Myrbetriq is only one example of a great many, and it's almost entirely due to the fact that the Canadian government and other national governments don't allow pharmaceutical companies to charge such exorbitant amounts within their borders.

The Cost of Research and Development

When people complain to pharmaceutical executives about the high cost of prescription drugs, they often cite the high cost of research and development to create new drugs, in addition to the live subject studies, and FDA-approval process. Admittedly, none of those things are cheap and this process — from start to finish — is years. Many years, in fact. The question is how truthful they're being here.

Pharmaceutical companies aren't hurting for revenue. The top ten drug manufacturers accounted for about one-third of the world's pharmaceutical market in 2019, pulling in nearly $400 billion. Pfizer was the top earner, taking in over $51 billion. If the CEO's salary is any indication, they're doing pretty well. As the CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla's total compensation in 2019 was nearly $18 million.

For comparison, the fourth-highest grossing pharmaceutical company in 2019 was Merck, bringing in almost $47 billion. The compensation package for Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier in 2019 was over $27 million, which was up 32% from 2018.

Johnson & Johnson was the sixth-highest grossing pharmaceutical company in 2019, reporting $42 billion in revenue. Its CEO, Alex Gorsky received total compensation of just over $25 million, which was up about 26% from 2018.

The Emotional Factor

You also can't overlook the emotional connection to the problem any given drug is solving. Overactive bladder can be a sensitive topic for people — it can feel embarrassing to need to use the bathroom frequently. People might ask you if you're okay, or if you're feeling well. Practically speaking, it's annoying to be interrupted frequently. Often, this involves planning so you know where all of the restrooms are, which might be fine when you're in an office, but on a road trip, it can be more daunting.

Some people choose to wear special pads in their underwear to absorb urine in the event that they leak, or adult diapers in case they have accidents because they can't get to the bathroom fast enough.

When this is the case, people may be willing to spend whatever money is necessary in order to solve, or even just minimize the problem. If they're embarrassed or humiliated enough by it, they'll pay whatever it costs.

This is not to say that people should feel ashamed for having an overactive bladder (or any other medical condition that they wish they didn't). But the fact that people do feel that way can lead to less argument about the cost of a drug that treats an ailment they badly want to treat.

Finding Myrbetriq at a More Affordable Price via International Online Pharmacies

An overactive bladder isn't a condition that only bothers people's vanity — it's not something that people want to solve simply because they're embarrassed by it. It can affect people's quality of life, causing them increased stress and anxiety. Planning your day around your bladder can be exhausting, frustrating, and yes, embarrassing. Furthermore, the feeling of having an accident is not one that any adult feels good about.

There's no reason that people shouldn't be able to get medication to treat this condition (or any other medical condition) at a more affordable rate. This is something we feel very strongly about at NorthWestPharmacy.com. We want to help people access the medications they need at a reasonable price. Everything we do is in an effort to fulfill this mission.

Not only will we guarantee to have the best price for you, but we'll deliver the medication your doctor prescribed straight to your door. You won't need to leave the comfort of your home unless it's to walk out to your mailbox to get your package.

We're also one of the decreasingly few companies with a dedicated call center that isn't outsourced to an overseas company. While many companies are trying to save money by using automated telephone systems, we're still deploying live humans who you can talk to seven days a week — and believe it or not, we enjoy providing this service.

If you have questions about placing an order, what materials you need before you can order your medication (such as a valid prescription from a doctor), and possible methods of payment, we'd love to walk you through the process. You can also check out our frequently asked questions, which may provide the answers you're looking for.

We truly love talking to our customers, so if you have questions — even if you've read through the FAQs, or simply need to be reassured that you're placing your order correctly — please contact us today. For your convenience, we have a toll-free phone number: 1-866-539-5330. We're happy to walk you through the ordering process.

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