The recent story of the cost of the $13.50 pill going to $750 overnight indicates the power of the big pharmaceuticals. In a study by watchdog group Public Citizen and Carleton University of Ottawa, Medicare drugs in the U.S. cost more than twice as much as those in the world’s other richest countries.
And, even in the US, Medicare pays more for drugs than Medicaid or the Veterans Health Administration. A pill that costs Medicare $83 costs Medicaid only $48 and the VHA only $46.
When attempts to rectify these discrepancies come before the Congress, Big Pharma money pours into Washington. In July $3.6 million in contributions to Republican and Democrat House members helped them pass HR6 the 21st Century Cures Act which now sits in the Senate for consideration.
Public Citizen will oppose the Cures Act in the Senate and push for a more consumer friendly Heals Act while Big Pharma will undoubtedly add more money in the mix in Cure’s support.
I am rooting for Public Citizen over big drugs, but I won’t be betting money on it.
Ray Hollmann, Fairview Heights