The Gustavian Weekly

A Diseased Big Pharma | The Gustavian Weekly

By Megan Bertrand - Opinion Columnist | February 26, 2016 | Opinion

Americans face high costs when they buy medication due to pharmaceutical companies’ practices.

Americans face high costs when they buy medication due to pharmaceutical companies’ practices.

Former United States representative Mike Ferguson once observed that “America’s doctors, nurses and medical researchers are the best in the world. But our healthcare system is broken.”

I agree with this astute observation. If a politician makes this statement, then there is indeed something wrong with this situation.

Pharmaceutical companies control the cost of medication. The CEOs of these companies argue that the prices set for a pharmaceutical drug are necessary to keep research going.

The manufacturing of drugs is relatively cheap in cost, and the cost to develop a new drug is extremely high. In order to run clinical trials and test out the newly developed drugs, it costs millions of dollars.

Not all of the new drugs pharmacists develop are successful; only 11 percent of the drugs developed get approved for sale and consumption.

The combined costs of clinical testing and development averages a billion dollars in development. There is an expenditure for the companies to use in the development of new drugs to improve the lives of sick people all across the country.

However, very little of the budget is used in the aid of developing new drugs, and is instead used in global marketing and administration.

The Kaiser Family Foundation did a survey in June of 2015. The results: one quarter of Americans who are taking over-the-counter drugs won’t fill their prescription, simply because the medicine costs too much. 18 percent of Americans have either skipped doses or have cut the pills in half to make them last longer.

In a country dedicated to developing new medicines to help the sick, the companies show little leeway when it comes to lowering the cost of medication.

The Kaiser Family Foundation did another survey in July of that same year. The purpose of this survey was to find out why the medication was so expensive.

In a country dedicated to developing new medicines to help the sick, the companies show little leeway when it comes to lowering the cost of medication.

They found that “marketing and advertising are the sole reason the medication is so high.”

One quarter of Americans who are taking over-the- counter drugs won’t fill their prescription, simply because the medicine costs too much.

Another reason for the high costs of medication is that drug companies make more profit off the medication being sold. A third reason is high pricing helps to fund the cost of research.

We live in a world where the Pharmacy Benefit Managers of each company are allowed to increase their drug prices in order to turn a profit.

They can take any drug and call it a name brand (which is more expensive) simply because their contracts have a vague definition on what counts as a name brand drug.

18 percent of Americans have either skipped doses or have to cut the pills in half to make them last longer.

Insurance is supposed to cover the cost of drugs. Yet, the cost is so high that people still have to pay for the rest out of pocket. More disturbing yet, not all people have insurance, so they must pay for their medicine out of pocket.

Another segment of the population can’t afford health insurance, nor can they afford to pay for the drugs out of pocket.

This puts them in a bind, and leaves them unable to afford the medication. Yet, these companies do not care, because the are still making a profit.

Insurance is supposed to cover the cost of drugs. Yet, the cost is so high that people still have to pay for the rest out of pocket.

Americans have to pay a lot of money for health insurance. It’s my personal opinion that insurance should cover all forms of medication.

The research and trials that the taxpayers’ dollars pay for is supposed to help the sick and prevent more illness, yet this is not the case. Half of the population is unable to get their medication because it is cost prohibitive.

Sadly, this is a broken system, with serious financial and health consequences.

Our money goes into these programs, so it only makes sense that the average American should be able to afford the medication. Sadly, this is a broken system, with serious financial and health consequences.