We have often written about the gouging practices of drug companies, particularly when individual patients need the medicine to either live at all, or maintain a relatively pain-managed existence. The motive, of course, is pure profit.
Academic experts say the “prices of 14 cancer drugs have increased by between 100% and nearly 1,000% over the past five years in the UK. These are all generic drugs where the patent has expired, which means they can be made for little more than the cost of the raw ingredients.” There is little evidence to show that drug companies in the U.S. are not doing the same thing.
The European pattern echoes the findings of American drug companies where “Turing Pharmaceuticals was found to have done in the US with Daraprim, a 70-year-old drug used in Aids treatment. The price rose from $13.50 to $750 to universal outrage and became an issue in the presidential election. During these events, Turing CEO Martin Shkreli was dubbed the most hated man in America,” the Guardian reports.
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In many fundraising and charitable ventures, the cost to raise money for needy causes sometimes eats up large percentages of the funds allocated. Similarly, drug companies can spend more money on advertising their drugs then they spend to manufacture them.
The Huffington Post reports that “Prescription drug companies spend more than 19 times as much on marketing as they do on basic research. With prescription drug ads airing continuously in the U.S., the cost of medicines has soared. Drug makers charge customers in the U.S. — especially the government — vastly more for the same drugs than they do in places like Canada and Europe.”
We hope that President Trump shines the spotlight on drug companies in the United States with an eye towards curbing these abusive practices. We do not begrudge companies from earning a profit, but the kind of extravagant price-gouging present in the drug business must be stopped.