Over the last several years, a more than noticeable and outrageous trend has been occurring across the nation as the price of prescription drugs has skyrocketed out of control. Well, Big Pharma executives are now admitting why as part of a new study, and it should cause an uproar.
The cost of drugs such as insulin has risen so high that Americans have been forced to seek it elsewhere in Mexico or Canada while many choose to risk death by going without it. Other medicines that have been traditionally inexpensive also now have high price tags.
Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine chair of neurology Dennis Bourdette, M.D. and a team of researchers performed a study to find out why, and executives brazenly admitted that it’s all about profit.
“I would say the rationales for the price increases are purely what can maximize profit,” one executive told the team. “There’s no other rationale for it, because costs [of producing the drug] have not gone up by 10% or 15%; you know, the costs have probably gone down.”
Other industry insiders have also admitted that Big Pharma companies collude with each other to raise prices together so that there’s no competition, which would drive the price down and cause consumers to favor the company with lower prices. That’s actually what is supposed to happen in a free market, but not when companies work together to keep the prices high.
“The industry executive said the quiet part out loud,” Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines project researcher Zain Rizvi told Common Dreams. “Price-gouging is central to the industry business model. This is not the case of just one bad actor. This is the case of an entirely bad system. The study underscores that we need a sea change in our drug pricing system to put public health over private wealth.”
The system is so demonstrably bad that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) grilled a Big Pharma executive to explain why a drug that costs thousands of dollars here in the United States only costs a mere $8 in Australia. He didn’t have a good answer.
And another executive agreed that companies can only get away with this price-gouging in the United States.
“It is only in the United States, really, that you can take price increases,” the executive said. “You can’t do it in the rest of the world. In the rest of the world, prices decline with duration in the marketplace.”
In every developed country in the world except our own, universal health care and price controls keep the cost of prescription drugs low. But Big Pharma refuses to do the same here and executives even peddled a lame excuse as to why.
“We can’t come in at less,” the executives said. “That would mean we’re less effective, we think less of our product, so we have to go more.”
Yeah, that’s bullshit. If every company in the country employed the same excuse to raise prices Americans would not be able to afford anything. Gas would be $100 a gallon. Milk would be close to the same price. And so on.
Big Pharma could easily match the low prices enjoyed by the rest of the world and would still make a profit. But they won’t because they are greedy.
“The frank information provided by these executives pulls back the curtain of secrecy on how drug price decisions are made,” Bourdette said.
Clearly, this is the absolute reason why we need universal healthcare and drug price controls in this country. People are dying without their medicine. Many are going bankrupt to get the medicine they need. And no one should have to do either in this country. Therefore, the only choice on Election Day next year is progressive candidates who will change the system once and for all.
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