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High Cost of Prescription Drugs, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 611

Essay

Prescription drugs have been outrageously increasing their costs, resulting in many people being unable to afford the medications that they require.  People are complaining and the issue has reached the White House.  The cost of prescriptions has risen so much so that the issue is becoming an important topic for the 2016 Presidential Election.  Candidates Clinton, Sanders, and Trump are adamant that the government needs to regulate the pharmaceutical companies’ enormous spending and make them account for how they allocate their resources.  The pharmaceutical companies oppose this proposition, and state that any attempt at regulation would be only impede people from getting their prescriptions.  However, something must be done.  The purpose of this paper is to examine the high cost of pharmaceutical spending, and to propose a solution that will benefit consumers.

Because of the rising cost of drugs, pharmaceutical companies are now being question and publicly shamed by politicians.  Pharmaceutical companies state that their funds go to research and the promotion and patent of new drugs.  However, prices for older drugs are increasing too.  Often, generic prescriptions are not an option.  While some people can use generic prescriptions, often they have different inactive ingredients, or there is simply no generic model available for certain prescriptions.

The two major pharmaceutical companies under fire are Valeant and Turing Pharmaceuticals AG.  Valeant’ has increased its prices for prescriptions as old as 30 years anywhere from 90% to 2,288%.  And the money is not going to research; Valeant only spends 3% of their income on research, where as other pharmaceutical companies average 17% on research funding.  Turing Pharmaceuticals AG was publicly shamed by the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, for raising the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 a pill.

Politicians are now contemplating more than just publicly scolding pharmaceutical companies.  Now they are proposing to actually do something about it.  Both Democratic and Republican political candidates are promising to regulate the outrageous prices for prescription drugs.  The politicians claim that the high cost of prescription drugs are adding to the price of health care coverage and forcing more Americans to pay out-of-pocket.

Democratic presidential candidates Clinton and Sanders propose to cap both monthly and annual out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.  Patients will pay a monthly limit of $250 on out-of-pocket prescriptions.  In addition, Clinton aims to deny tax breaks to pharmaceutical companies for expensive marketing and advertising, and have them allocate their resources towards research and development.

Naturally, there was some opposition from the pharmaceutical industry.  PhRMA, the main lobbyer for the pharmaceutical industry stated that attempts to restrict the cost of pharmaceuticals would “would restrict patients’ access to medicines, result in fewer new treatments for patients, cost countless jobs across the country and end our nation’s standing as the world leader in biomedical innovation.”  However, when the government has to ration prescriptions, such as in the case of the new Hepatitis C drugs, patients who need them are denied access anyways.  To make a further argument against PhRMA, the government has successfully intervened when big businesses have gotten out of control before.  In 1890, the first antitrust law, the Sherman Act was passed to promote honest competition in the business world, keep quality up, and keep prices down.  Two other antitrust laws soon followed.  In lieu of these facts, the argument of PhRMA is weak at best.

While it is true that politicians are not scientists, they are responsible for taking care of the people.  When established institutions such as Medicare and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are unable to pay for prescriptions, then serious actions need to be taken.  Pharmaceutical companies should be regulated and treated like any other business that has lost control.

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