Categories:  'Economic Inequality'   'Health Care - The Effects of Lacking Coverage'  

Higher Drug Prices Enrich Corporations While Patients Suffer

As the financial industry takes over pharmaceutical companies, the patents of medicines have become just another opportunity for profit. And while new pharmaceutical-finance companies, with [...]

As the financial industry takes over pharmaceutical companies, the patents of medicines have become just another opportunity for profit.

And while new pharmaceutical-finance companies, with CEOs like Martin Shkreli, bear the brunt of public blame, conventional pharmaceutical companies “often raise [drug prices] year after year at a rate far faster than inflation.” According to analysts, “smaller price increases on widely used drugs had a much bigger effect on health care spending than the larger increases … on drugs with small sales.”

The pharmaceutical industry defends itself by claiming that the expenses of research and development of drugs, and the costly multi-year process of clinical trials force them to charge high prices, but these explanations do not justify price increases on old drugs with no research and development costs.

“Dr. Irl B. Hirsch, a diabetes specialist at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, said insulin prices had risen so much in recent years that some patients were scrimping on groceries to pay for it.”

Picture credit: Emily Rose Bennett for The New York Times

Articles

Publication Date: 04/10/2015
Source: The New York Times
Author: Andrew Pollack and Sabrina Tavernise