When I was at the grocery store last night, I had to go through the soda aisle to get to the bakery in order to bribe my son with a sugar cookie.
In that aisle was a multitude of packages for a single flavor of soda. There were eight and twelve ounce cans. There were half liter and twenty ounce single serving bottles, and then there were liter and two liter multi-serving bottles. There were singles of most of these packaged contains, four packs, six packs, twelve packs, and thirty packs. Each of those packaging combinations had a slightly to significantly different price per ounce. Some of the variance in the price per ounce could be due to packaging cost difference. It is plausible that aluminum cans cost more than plastic bottles or vice versa. However most of the variance is market segmentation.
I was thinking about this as I read the Vox article on cancer drug wastage:
Pharmaceutical companies will earn nearly $2 billion this year selling drugs that patients never take.
These are expensive cancer drugs that can cost upward of $13,000 per month. A new study suggests that the way drug companies package these intravenous drugs — in single-use vials that contain way more medication than an average patient needs — ends up wasting a lot of money…
One of the most striking examples of this oversizing is a drug called Velcade that treats multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer.
Takeda Pharmaceutical, which makes Velcade, only sells the drug in 3.5 milligram vials in the United States (the company does manufacture 1 milligram vials abroad).The amount of medication that patients need turns out to be significantly smaller than the single dosage size. Using data on the weight distributions of cancer patients, Bach and his colleagues estimate that the average Velcade dose is 2.2 milligrams…Each vial of Velcade contains 1.3 milligram more medication than the average cancer patient needs. This disparity between vial size and patient dosage means hospitals will waste about 27 to 30 percent of the Velcade they purchase. They’ll spend $308 million on leftover Velcade that they never use.