What does "DC" Stand For?

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  • 09/23/2005

The DC Council has approved legislation (which Mayor Anthony Williams has said he will sign) that would make it illegal for pharmaceutical companies to sell prescription drugs at an “excessive price” in the District of Columbia. And, of course, if companies don’t comply there is a civil penalties clause. In medical terms, the Council needs to have their collective heads examined. But their mental health isn’t the issue. The real question is, what aspects of drug pricing do pharmaceutical company’s control? Pfizer doesn’t own a chain of pharmacies. Eli Lilly doesn’t have a stake in CVS. And, in case you didn’t know, there is no such thing as MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) for prescription medicines. Here’s how it works — a drug company sells its products to a wholesaler who sells it to a pharmacy (often with multiple re-sellers and re-packagers in-between). And everyone along the supply chain marks up the price to make a profit. In fact, by the time you receive your prescription at the pharmacy, the price can be upwards of 40% over the initial price charged by the pharmaceutical company. But, since the DC Council is made up mostly of lawyers (including the genius who introduced the legislation, David Catania — a lawyer at the mega-DC firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, Feld) it’s not surprising they’ve chosen to focus on the deepest pockets — the pharmaceutical industry. It wouldn’t look good, after all, if their legislation forced local pharmacies (who enjoy a sizable profit on their sale of medicines) to close in Anacostia. What does “DC” stand for? Based on the current disposition of the DC City Council, it stands for “Drug Catastrophe.”


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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