By Dylan Dusseault
Today, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Ro Khanna announced the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, which is designed to make drug prices in the US comparable to what patients pay in other countries.
It may not seem like we would need legislation just to ensure US customers aren’t being charged more than everyone else, but we’re the only developed country on earth where the government doesn’t negotiate or set prices for name brand drugs, and the results are a disaster.
1. We pay more for prescription drugs than any other country in the world, and it’s not even close.
2. Americans over 55 are five times less likely to fill a prescription due to cost than their UK counterparts, and 10 times more likely than the same age group in France.
3. We are frequently victims of massive price spikes. Remember “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli raised the price of a 60+ year old medication from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill? Or when Mylan Pharmaceuticals raised the price of the EpiPen from $50 per injector to over $300? Those were just high profile versions of a problem millions of Americans face every day. We can never be sure how much our next dose will cost.
4. American businesses list prescriptions as one of the largest drivers of increasing their spending on health care benefits for their employees, with some even reporting specialty medication costing more than an employee’s annual salary.
5. Our patent system lets companies hold monopolies on producing life-saving drugs that they often hold for decades, using shady practices like “pay to delay” to keep drugs off the market, or even giving patents to Native American tribes.
Essentially, we’re letting Big Pharma stomp all over American patients, businesses, and the government, and it’s time to put a stop to it.
The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act would empower the government to demand that pharmaceutical companies sell prescription drugs to American patients at the median price for the same drugs in 5 countries: France, Germany, the UK, Canada, and Japan.
If the pharmaceutical company refuses, the government would go after their patents, allowing generic companies to enter the market and produce the drug at a reasonable price.
Under this new system, American patients would no longer have to suffer under astronomical prices, and would be able to access medications at the same rate as the rest of the developed world.