A dear friend and Politics Done Right subscriber sent me this meme a few weeks ago. I was appalled but it tells an important story about our economy every American must understand. It is a bit more complicated and not understanding it is the reason we accept our continual decline. Please continue reading and share.
Our economic system is designed to rob the masses of all of their income thus preventing the growth of our wealth. We are doomed if we do not fix it.
Our economic system is based on this travesty
The meme says the following. “Humalog insulin, released in 1996, remains unchanged since its release, but its price increased 1,700% or more since then, from $21 a vial to $275. An average one year supply (36 vials) has gone from $750 to $13,500 with zero changes to the insulin.”
Gouging Americans for a life or death drug has consequences as noted at MedPage Today.
One witness at the hearing, Paul Grant of Gray-New Gloucester, Maine, described the process he went through to get insulin for his 13-year-old son, who has had type 1 diabetes for 4 years. Grant noted that his employer doesn’t provide health insurance, so he is paying for it himself through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace, “which is very expensive and very complicated.”
With his high-deductible plan, Grant spent $2,500 on diabetes supplies for his son in 2017. He had been paying $300 for a 90-day supply of Humalog. “That seemed like a lot … until this past January when I called to refill [my son’s] Humalog prescription — it was now going to cost $900 for a 90-day supply … I kind of went into panic mode,” he said. He bought a 30-day supply at Walmart for $322 (with a coupon) until he could figure out a plan.
Grant is now buying the insulin online from a Canadian pharmacy, which charges $295 for a 90-day supply, including shipping. For comparison, last week he looked up the price of a 90-day supply of Humalog at Express Scripts. “It would cost me $1,489 with my insurance.”
Jeremy Greene, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a practicing physician, has heard similar stories. “Over the past decade in my clinic, when I asked patients why they were not taking the insulin as prescribed, I frequently heard that the cost of insulin is prohibitive,” he told the committee. Although Greene first thought maybe he was just prescribing an expensive name-brand insulin instead of a cheaper generic one, “I was surprised to hear that generic insulin simply did not exist.”
Instead, three pharmaceutical manufacturers — sanofi-aventis, Novo Nordisk, and Eli Lilly — control 99% of the nearly $27 billion global insulin market, even though none of the main agents used are protected by patents, said Greene. “A recent survey found that one of four type 1 diabetics admitted to rationing insulin at least once due to cost in the past year … Humalog was $21 a vial in 1996 and by 2017, it cost $275 for a 1-month supply … This has real consequences for Americans living with diabetes.”
It is easy to understand why the increasing price of drugs has life or death consequence in the immediacy. What is not immediately apparent is how this mechanism, this economic system by design is intended to rob you blind.
Insulin is an old medicine, over 100 years old. There is no patent on it. Worse as noted in the article above, it was virtually placed in the public domain. Therefore it should be one of the cheapest drugs on the market. There is a virtual monopoly in companies selling the product. They determine the price. The private sector determines how much they will force you to pay for a drug you must have.
Pricing of any product in our economic system is based on a corrosive concept known as “Whatever the market will bear.” And what will the market bear? All of your income plus your total creditworthiness, how much you can borrow.
Sadly, the reality is that corporations whose fiduciary responsibility is to their shareholders and their huge undeserved salaries, will keep raising prices until people are simply unable to afford what they are selling. If it is something they must have, Americans will spend up to their limit to get it.
The tenets of the current economic system are predicated on this behavior that effectively prevents us from saving. It makes us entities that are nothing but conduits of our income used to create the increasing wealth of a few, those who determine prices, the Plutocrats.
In the past when we made taxes very high on income after a few million, there was no incentive for the legal robbery of the American people through predatory pricing because the ill-gotten gains were recycled right back to “we the people” via taxes.
As politicians on the take started reducing and eliminating taxes, the results are clear. Our colleges are more expensive than they should. Schools are underfunded. Our infrastructure is deteriorating. 80% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. But a few people get extremely wealthy, not on their worth or work, but their manipulation of prices, their pricing power.
Is this the life we want? Is this even living? We should learn from these Danish women and work toward a society more like theirs.