Even though the US produces worse health outcomes than any other developed country, healthcare costs in the US are the highest in the world. One major contributor towards this is big pharma jacking up drug prices over 1,000 times this year.
According to Patients for Affordable Drugs, a nonprofit fighting to lower the exorbitant price of prescription drugs, the US pharmaceutical industry has increased drug prices 1,186 times this year. On Wednesday, the panel published its assessment.
Pharmaceutical companies raised the prices on 133 items between June 24 and July 5 alone, the organization discovered, despite making enormous profits. They also noted that the median price rise for 2022 was 5%. According to Patients for Affordable Drugs, 64 pharmaceutical companies increased their pricing in just July.
Despite making unprecedented profits on their Covid-19 vaccine, corporations like Pfizer have pushed to raise the cost of other medications. Besponsa, a leukemia drug made by Pfizer, has undergone four price increases since the pandemic started and is now available for $21,056 a vial.
Since obtaining the rights to the medication in 2002, another firm, Amgen, has increased the price of Enbrel, a medication used to treat autoimmune diseases, so much and so frequently that it has outpaced even the record-breaking US inflation rate. The drug’s price was raised 27 times between that acquisition and 2020 by the business, rising 457 percent over its original price to $5,554.96 per month. Despite a 2020 probe by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform into Amgen’s pricing practices, in which the drug company’s methods were resoundingly criticized, two further price increases occurred this year.
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David Mitchell, the founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs, said that Americans are still having trouble making ends meet in the wake of the Covid-19 slump and claimed that the industry was continuing “to raise drug prices with no regard for the health and financial well-being of Americans.” He inquired why nothing had been done in light of the fact that there was broad political support for regulating the price of prescription pharmaceuticals.
While Senate Democrats pushed a bill earlier this month requiring Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical firms, detractors noted that the law only extended to individuals participating in the government’s Medicare program. Only 18.4% of Americans had access to Medicare as of 2020, leaving the vast majority of drug users without any method of reducing their own prescription expenditures.
Given that it does not mandate price negotiations until a drug has been on the market for at least seven years, the law runs the risk of encouraging pharmaceutical corporations to raise the pricing of their new drugs even further. An article released last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that over half of new brand-name prescription medications come with a yearly price tag of $150,000 or more. Additionally, the authors of the report pointed out that from 2008 to 2021, the price of newly released prescription pharmaceuticals increased by 20% annually.
Even though the US produces worse health outcomes than any other developed country, healthcare costs in the US are the highest in the world. And although Americans have a shorter life expectancy than all other industrialized nations, their doctors are compensated better than those in other developed nations.