On Tuesday, February 26th, a Senate congressional panel lampooned the CEOs of 7 top pharmaceutical giants like Johnson-Johnson, Sanofi, Astra-Zeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, for evident price-gouging of their U.S. constituents. Senator Ron Wyden, Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Senator Steve Daines, Senator Maggie Hassan, and Senator Johnny Isakson, among others, let the big pharmacy businesses know how distraught consumers are over the price-gouging with a lot of pointed comments and chest-beating drama. The comments sought to threaten the industry like the tobacco industry for its false health claims, lies, and cover-ups over the years.
The price increases of big pharma have all been justified for many decades by using the sophism of Research & Development as the trade-off and payback to the public. But, now, more than ever, this dream is not being realized as patients are forced to forgo the basic drug needs that they have now. Why should they have hopes of some far-fetched miracle drug coming out at ridiculous prices that they can’t afford in the distant future?. One such example of a miracle drug that is effectively useless is the Hepatitis-C treatment that is capable of curing the disease in a majority of patients but yet too expensive for the majority of Americans with Hepatitis-C to afford.
While the United States only grants patents of 20 years on a manufacturer’s exclusive formula, the manufacturers tweak the formula ever-so-slightly during that time to extend the patents indefinitely. To make matters worse, they also have the political hierarchy in their pockets and use them to create regulations for even stronger monopolization. They do this by banning generic drugs and preventing imported drugs from reaching the shores under the guise of safety.
These same drugs being sold by these U.S. companies are much cheaper elsewhere in the world, two and a half times more than they cost even in a wealthy nation like Great Britain. The markets in other countries simply won’t bear the expense, which, in turn, causes the prices to nosedive. The pharma giants lower prices simply to glean additional profits when price gouging doesn’t work.
While the big pharma corporations claim that they have to recoup the costs of their investments and likewise need to make big profits for further research and development of new drugs, they are making $2.6 billion per medicine every 10 years. They could certainly outsource the engineering to foreign countries where the costs of living are less to cut the costs of research and development.
Patients are stretching life-saving doses of insulin and harming their health because they can’t afford it. They are refusing to pay for prescriptions when they are told the new prices and leaving their pills at the counter. Insulin has recently increased by 500 percent even though it has been available for almost a century. Even Senator Johnny Isakson is personally feeling the increases. He went to pick up a prescription and was told that it was now $90 more. The politicians are on the brink of passing something to make the bureaucracy look like a solution in hopes of quashing the tension of public upheaval.
Consumers simply aren’t buying the blame game that pharmacy benefit managers and insurers are responsible for failing to pass on volume discounts from the manufacturers. The reality is that they are all clearly working together to create monopolized pricing on life-saving medicines to effectively extort a steady stream of income out of consumer’s pocketbooks. Those costs are skyrocketing to more than $1,100 per patient a year.
Pharmaceutical prices are inexplicably rising, more than 6 percent in the last few years, far above any other facet of the medical industry. This is because the big pharmacies have used lobbying to legally bribe candidates into influencing judges and other officials. The officials ensure that laws are passed in their favor and contrary to the interests of the average American.
Welcome to the new face of crony capitalism USA, Inc., where banking, big energy, insurance monopolies, and big pharma are dictating the rules and forcing us to play their game. We struggle to make our voting system work again in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “money is speech” philosophy.
This unconstitutional sophism allows these giant corporations to buy favors from the candidates that they sponsor with millions and billions of dollars. This makes us voiceless consumers in the big scheme of things.
We all know why there is an opioid crisis in America. This even came up at the hearing concerning how Johnson and Johnson aggressively pushed opioids like candy down the throats of consumers. These big corporations are above the law and never held responsible because they have a few key judges and politicians in their pockets. Everyone else is too scared to stand up to them because lawyers will lose their licenses and other litigants will be disrespected like troglodytes over this fictitiously convoluted and complex matter. Just follow the yellow brick road and you’ll see what is really going on.
The different strategies for quelling public angst include allowing the government to negotiate the prices and using an international pricing index for uniform rates. The pharmacies are more willing to accept the manufacturing of generic formulas than ever before because they know how much money it now takes to produce the most refined products. They don’t see generics as real competition in the game.
Since they also work to ensure that their products fill the coffers of pharmacies and insurance companies to exclusively push their products (by sharing the price raises), it will be easy for insurers to aggressively push the Name Brands by saying that the generics are out of stock, not covered, and other tricks.
Something has to be done quickly. It is said that 650 products have risen in price in just the first two months of 2019 alone. Consumers are waking up to realize that they are being lulled into complacency by false bureaucratic systems that serve the interests of the elite and their corporations.
As technology replaces more jobs, humanity will become even more obsolete and expendable. Elitists will have no qualms about stealing everything away from us under the color of law and leaving our country in ruins and anarchy like they recently did to Venezuela through carefully orchestrated banking and political tactics.