- One in four Americans have no prescription drug coverage. As the population ages and drug prices rise the number of uninsured or under-insured is expected to rise. Because insurers generally negotiate discounts on prescription drugs, the cost to the uninsured is disproportionately higher.
- Prescription drug costs are rising 3 times faster than overall drug costs.
- The pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable industry in the United States with return on equity of a whopping 39.4%.
- Drug companies claim that high research and development costs are the reason they much charge so much for drugs, yet pharmaceutical research accounted for less than 1%(0.97%) of health spending in the US as compared to an average of 1.53% in the U.K., France, Japan, Italy and Canada. Interestingly enough 1/4 of all new drugs developed between 1970 and 1992 came from the U.K., Japan, Sweden and Germany who all have price controls in place. The presence of price controls does not appear to stifle innovation.
- While the drug companies claim that 20% of the cost of a new drug is due to research costs that may be misleading. Rolled into that 20% cost is the cost for marketing research.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
This is a call to action. American healthcare consumers and providers need to call the pharmaceutical companies bluff. They need to let their elected official know that, in those famous words by Howard Beale from the movie Network, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more." Let your health care provider know that you would like him to stop taking favors (as in trips and cruises for so called continuing medical education from the pharmaceutical companies that drive up the cost of drugs, while encouraging them to prescribe higher priced products.