Guardian: Last week, we learned that Merck is planning to charge Americans 40 times its cost for a Covid drug whose development was subsidized by the American government. The situation spotlights two sets of facts that have gone largely unmentioned in the legislative debate over whether to let Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices.
Fact one: Americans are facing not merely expensive drugs but prices that are examples of outright profiteering.
Fact two: in many cases, the medicines we are being gouged on are those that we the public already paid for.
These facts show us that pharma-bankrolled Democrats trying to kill drug pricing measures aren’t just bought and paid for in this particular skirmish – they are foot soldiers in the pharmaceutical industry’s larger multi-decade campaign to seal off and rig America’s alleged “free market”.
First, there’s the price point of drugs. It’s not merely that Americans are paying the world’s highest prices for pharmaceuticals, it’s that in many cases, we are paying prices that aren’t even close to what consumers in other countries pay.
A new Public Citizen analysis shows that the 20 top-selling medicines generated almost twice as much pharmaceutical industry revenue in the United States as in every other country combined. Sure, compared with others, Americans may buy a lot of prescription drugs, but this study reflects something much bigger at play: pharma-sculpted public policies that allow drug price levels to go beyond profits and into profiteering.
That term “profiteering” is important here because drugmakers aren’t losing lots of money in other countries where they sell medicines at lower prices.