Drug prices come down for landing with the Infrastructure Reduction Act.
Drug prices out of reach. Big Pharma share prices soaring and execs making millions. Big Pharma spending millions on lobbying to protect their profits. Republicans vote to price drug caps to please Big Pharma donors. Follow the money to see how Democrats are bring drug prices down for landing despite headwinds from Big Pharma lobbying and Republican opposition.
Follow the (drug) money
Prescription drug pricing reform
The Inflation Reduction Act lets Medicare negotiate lower prices for high-cost drugs for the first time. Companies that refuse to negotiate will be subject to an up to 95% sales tax on that drug. The bill includes a ceiling on the negotiated price of the specified drug. This is a policy Democrats have attempted to enact, over objections from the pharmaceutical industry, for many years. The provisions are expected to save $288 billion over 10 years according to analysis by the CBO.
The bill caps out-of-pocket drug costs at $2,000 a year for Medicare beneficiaries, starting in 2025. It also caps insulin costs for people on Medicare at $35 a month. The original proposal called for a cap on both Medicare and private insurance patients, but Republicans voted against extending protection to those on private plans. - Investopedia
The Congressional Budget Office projects the measure would save the U.S.—which spends far more on prescription drugs than other wealthy nations—$290 billion over 10 years.
BIG PHARMA MAKES A KILLING (pun intended)
Price Increases Outpaced Inflation for Half of all Drugs Covered by Medicare in 2020. Half of all Part D covered drugs (50% of 3,343 drugs) and nearly half of all Part B covered drugs had price increases greater than inflation between July 2019 and July 2020. Kaiser Family Foundation
Big pharma greed kills
Ocasio-Cortez lays into drug company CEO, telling him to his face that his greed is killing people. AOC has railed against the CEO of a drug company and by extension the private healthcare industry. She argued that health is treated like a commodity by drugs companies, and that “people are dying” as a result. She made the comments during a congressional hearing involving Daniel O’Day, thxe CEO of drug company Gilead. She contended that companies like Gilead are taking advantage of sick people. Using an iPhone as an example, she said: “This is a commodity”.
She went on to explain the economics of having an option when it comes to choosing a product: When we talk about economics there’s something known as a demand curve, with elasticity. And with every other commodity you can say ‘How much is this phone worth to you?’. And you can say ‘$100, $200’. You can buy a Nokia phone. You can not have a phone at all. But healthcare, she argued, is not like this. She insisted. But you cannot ask the question ‘how much will you pay to be alive? How much will you pay to live?’. Because the answer is everything. The answer is, you will pay $10, you will pay $1,000, you will go into debt. You will do anything to live. - The Canary
@AOC asked this pharma exec why a life-saving HIV drug costs nearly $2,000 in the U.S. and $8 in Australia
Big Pharma spends millions to lobby to keep prices and profits high
Big Pharma Has Spent $147 Million to Kill Lower Drug Prices During Pandemic. "The big drug companies spend so massively lobbying to keep the market rigged in their favor and seniors at their mercy, including many literally choosing between food and medicine," said Accountable.US.
The five largest pharmaceutical companies in the United States have spent nearly $150 million lobbying against Democratic proposals to lower the country's increasingly outlandish drug prices. The analysis by the corporate and government watchdog group Accountable.US estimates that Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, AbbVie, and Merck poured a combined $147.3 million into lobbying Congress since 2020.
"Meanwhile, major pharmaceutical CEOs raked in over $292.6 million" as "their companies saw skyrocketing profits," the report notes. "Big Pharma, like many other industries, knows they cannot justify raising prices so high at the same time they boast of excessive profits, generous CEO bonuses, and huge shareholder payouts," said Accountable.US spokesperson Liz Zelnick. "That is why the big drug companies spend so massively lobbying to keep the market rigged in their favor and seniors at their mercy, including many literally choosing between food and medicine." - Common Dreams
Millions spent to keep drug prices high
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)—the drug industry's trade group—has denounced the proposal, decrying its "sweeping government price-setting policies." Last year, Big Pharma spent heavily to weaken an earlier Democratic drug pricing plan that was ultimately scrapped thanks in large part to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). While it's despised by the pharmaceutical industry—whose lobbyists on Capitol Hill outnumber members of Congress—the idea of allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices is broadly popular with the U.S. public, garnering more than 80% support across party lines in some polling.
Republicans vote against insulin price caps to please Big Pharma donors
The Senate passed a sweeping budget package Sunday intended to bring financial relief to Americans, but not before Republican senators voted to strip a proposal that would have capped the price of insulin at $35 per month for many patients. A proposal that limits the monthly cost of insulin to $35 for Medicare patients was left untouched. But using a parliamentary rule, GOP lawmakers were able to jettison the part of the proposal that would apply to privately insured patients.
Lowering the price of drugs such as insulin, which is used by diabetics to manage their blood sugar levels, is broadly popular with voters, polling shows. Senate Democrats denounced Republicans for voting against relief for Americans with private insurance struggling to pay for the lifesaving drug. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and about 7 million require insulin daily to manage their blood sugar levels. - Washington Post
TakeAway: Vote to make drug prices and healthcare affordable. Vote Democrat.
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