I am all in favor of discovering new approaches to health – and then using the vast resources of the drug companies and the government to offer new technology or health items to regular citizens. Yet the more I pay attention, the more I am convinced that there is a disconnect between discovering a new approach and just copying one that has been in use for decades.

I get particularly cranky when this new, government approved version costs ten times more than the original.

Today, I’m railing about a newly released drug called Ampyra.

A drug manufacturer has taken 4-aminopyridine (4AP), renamed it, reformulated it, and released it as a new treatment for poor muscle control in people who suffer from multiple sclerosis. The new product carries a warning that “patients must be careful to not use any drug that contains 4-aminopyrine because it is the same drug as fampridine (the generic name invented for the Ampyra product).”

To add even more insult, the new commercial product will sell for more than ten times what the compounded versions have typically cost. Nevertheless, that seems to be just fine because the insurance company or some government health program will pay for it.

Where the heck do people think the insurance companies and government get their money?

I guess we’ll find out.