A few weeks ago I wrote stories on drug company gougings of Americans (e.g., the EpiPen and Daraprim). This week, DailyKOS contributing editor Susan Grisby knocked it out of the park.
Drug company boss on the hot seat
Drug company gougings are on the rise. Susan Grisby enumerates how pharmaceutical companies are pilfering us with staggering price increases. She writes in her DailyKOS article titled “Dispatches from the drug war: Or, why are Americans subsidizing the Europeans?” the following.
Let’s talk about other drug war: The one being waged against the American consumer by the pharmaceutical companies who benefit from our tax dollars that fund basic scientific research and make up the difference in the tax relief they receive for their own research and development. …
The Bayh-Dole Act provides the tools that are needed to reign in the price gouging that is being done on drugs that we have paid to develop. In November, we need to elect a government that will use that authority, since the NIH does not seem to be willing to do so today.
Perhaps the greater insult from the industry in defense of these outrageous price hikes is that the average consumer will never feel the increase as insurance or the government picks up the tab. And then they offer coupons or discounts to help offset the cost to those with high deductibles.
But here is the thing—when an insurance company pays for the medication, it does not absorb the huge cost: it passes it on to everyone else who purchases insurance. That is the way insurance works. That is the way it is supposed to work. And if the government pays the inflated prices, our tax dollars pick up the tab. Since we are paying the piper, should we not be calling the tune?
The Republicans don’t think so. That’s why they prohibited Medicare from negotiating prices with pharmaceuticals under Medicare Part D. The bill was shepherded through Congress by former Republican Congressman Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, and according to 60 Minutes:
After serving out his congressional term, he accepted a $2 million-a-year job as president of PhRMA — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
He wasn’t the only one who cashed in. Medicare boss Tom Scully threatened to fire Medicare Chief Actuary Richard Foster if he reported on the true cost of the bill before the vote:
Scully was the administration’s lead negotiator on the prescription drug bill, and at the time was also negotiating a job for himself with a high-powered Washington law firm, where he became a lobbyist with the pharmaceutical industry.
People should be reminded that it was Republicans that opened this can of worms that led to their personal enrichment and is known as Medicare Part D. Yes, seniors need a reliable insurance program that covers medication. But there is no reason that Medicare should not be able to negotiate prices just as the VA and the DOD do. Well, except for the Republicans in Congress that will not allow a change in the plan. And the influence of pharmaceutical money on representatives and senators of both parties.
The entire article is a road map of pharmaceutical company malfeasance. Read it and then force our government to act.