Big Pharma Price-Gouging in America
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
In an earlier article, I explained the following about Big Pharma:
The industry is one of the most profitable in the country, making about 18 cents profit on every dollar of sales.
It’s aided by government using our tax dollars to fund research on new drugs – the industry gets to sell at exorbitant prices.
It spends about twice as much on advertising, promotion and administrative costs as on R & D to develop new drugs.
Prices charged for prescription drugs in America are inordinately high compared to virtually all other countries – around double the cost of other developed nations.
They’re rising at around four times the rate of inflation. So are prohibitive costs for insurance and hospital care.
Companies increasingly are forcing employees to share a greater cost burden, along with reducing overall healthcare benefits.
A virtual regulation-free healthcare industry when it comes to pricing facilitates gouging consumers – making proper healthcare, or enough of it, increasingly unaffordable for millions of low and medium-income households.
Perhaps more than any other industry, Big Pharma bandits exploit US consumers for huge profits, rising exponentially for some drugs (new and old), an untenable situation without constraining them legislatively.
When undemocratic Dems controlled Congress under Obama and the Clinton co-presidency, they enacted no laws constraining unacceptably large drug price increases.
With Republicans controlling the administration, House and Senate, they disingenuously support what they rejected when it mattered – doing nothing about it, servile to industry interests.
Obamacare omitted the right to import cheaper drugs from abroad, notably Canada. It failed to mandate lower prices for Medicare-eligible households, a no-brainer it rejected.
NBC News earlier reported that “(p)aying for medicine can be the most expensive out-of-pocket health cost for Americans.”
The sky’s the limit when it comes to pricing, nothing constraining drug industry bandits charging whatever they want, no ceiling imposed on them.
An army of industry lawyers and lobbyists pressures Congress against regulating prices. Large campaign contributions to key House and Senate members buy Big Pharma what it wants.
The 2016 undemocratic Dem platform rejected universal healthcare. It excluded a mandate for lower drug prices.
It included weasel words about “advancing our party’s progressive ideals…addressing the needs of all Americans” – meaningless rhetorical promises abandoned when controlling the White House and Congress.
Last March, disingenuous Senate Dems introduced the “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act.” The measure went nowhere with Republicans controlling Congress.
Why didn’t they introduce this measure when Dems controlled both houses with Obama in the White House? Why now and not then?
Simple, because they’re beholden to industry bandits like Republicans, gorging at the trough of industry campaign contributions – introducing consumer-friendly legislation only when passage won’t happen, not when it’s assured.
Disingenuous Dems are at it again. Last October, House and Senate members introduced “The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017” – a meaningless head-fake gesture, the measure having no chance of passage and enactment into law by Trump.
If the unexpected happens, the measure won’t be enforced, leaving drug industry bandits free to continue ripping off consumers.
The bill calls for the HHS secretary to negotiate lower drug prices under Medicare Part D. Currently around two-thirds of Medicare recipients have drug coverage – nearly 20 million households without it.
All Americans deserve affordable healthcare, including for prescription drugs. The only acceptable option is universal coverage.
Anything less continues unacceptable marketplace medicine – predatory insurers, large hospital chains and drug industry bandits ripping off consumers for big profits.
A Final Comment
Augie Lindmark, Vanessa Van Doren, Bryant Shuey, and Andy Hyatt are aspiring doctors, medical students looking forward to their careers after extensive training.
“We are America’s future doctors. We support a Medicare-for-all health system,” they headlined, saying:
“Both Republican and Democratic efforts have done little to change the fact that thousands of Americans die from lack of health coverage.”
“America’s fragmented and inequitable health system is a sinking ship and recent fixes – often in the form of private health insurance industry bailouts or shutouts – are like placing tissue paper over the leaks in this doomed vessel.”
“As medical students, we occupy a unique seat from which to view America’s health system. Our inexperience means we haven’t been indoctrinated into the damaging practices of the private health insurance industry.”
“Our optimism tells us that the system can be changed. We entered medicine out of a desire to help people.”
“But if we participate in a flawed health care system without advocating for structural and equitable change, we trend toward hypocrisy rather than Hippocrates.”
Encouraging comments from youths wise for their age. Sadly, corrupt bipartisan politics in Washington defeats their noble aims.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”