The Expensive Health: The High Cost of Drugs Essay Example
America is the definition of capitalism with the largest economy in the world over 21 trillion dollars, in spite of that millions and millions of its citizens don’t have access to affordable medications. Expensive medication is making harder and harder for people to pay for to live without health problems. Many with health insurance are still paying colossal bills to get their prescriptions. Lack of affordable medications is so widespread that now it is one of the main agenda used by politicians to get voters on their side. Lack of affordable medication is a the result of some weak and improper laws placed that are taken advantage of by everyone and the well known drug manufacturers. However, this advantage can easily be taken away if Congress makes conscious laws like government in Canada and in the United Kingdom, they take a more hands on approach.
Increasing drug prices are making difficult for many patients to afford the expenses of prescriptions only because drug manufacturers want to make money. Drug manufacturers can do anything they want with the drug because they are given the exclusive rights under the patent law. Under this law, manufacturers are given the exclusivity to manufacture themselves or licensing to others and during the permit time patent holders can raise the price to any amount to make a profit. “The National Academic Press” asserts that a unique drug to cure cancer raised the prices to $3,000 from $390 (75). Other cancer drug has also increased in prices from five to ten fold over the fifteen years, Whalen stated in her article “Drug Costs: Doctors Attack Drug Prices”. This is occurring solitarily because congress has given the manufacturers protection from other manufacturers copying it.
People and the insurers are boycotting prescriptions as companies do not face any competition, therefore they can raise the price to whatever they want. Some certain prescriptions are priced so high that some have to spend their family earning to acquire it. In Langreth’s article “High U.S. Drug Prices Fuel Outrage, Innovation Debate: QuickTake” reveal that a drug named Sovaldi to cure hepatitis released by Gilead Sciences at a price of $84,000 for a 12- week course. Companies invest more fortune in marketing than they do in researching and developing the drug. The cost is so high because they want the profit for their prominent name in the drug industry because no one else has the cure. The drug prices are consistently rising as a consequence that manufacture is a monopoly for a certain time in that one specific drug they developed.
Equally, health insurers can use their purchasing power to negotiate prices with drug companies. Also, generic drugs is the same as their equal counterpart branded drugs but with the penny of the cost. Health insurers are huge established enterprises with all the resources. They are so powerful that can change the whole health industry, which includes the prices of the drugs. One of the most known and powerful is Medicare. Langreth propound in his article “High U.S. Drug Prices Fuel Outrage, Innovation Debate: QuickTake” that under the 2003 law, prescription-drug benefits which were added to Medicare taking away its power to negotiate drug prices. The pharma industry brought this change to Medicare using congress so it doesn’t have leverage over them, most importantly the prices. Medicare is the largest prescription buyer within the United States.
Even if Medicare lost its most notorious power among the drug industry. The prices can be still leveled off by generic drugs. “The National Academic Press” asserts that when a generic is introduced it is priced close enough to its manufacturing cost (76). Generic drugs are same in terms of effectiveness, but they are manufactured after the patent is expired. However, when they are released they force the branded drugs to bulldoze the prices or take them out of business. Branded drug companies also pay millions to generic drug manufacturers to keep the drug out of the market circulation as stated in Marsa’s article “The Price We Pay”. There many direct and indirect ways the drug industry is increasing the prices.
There ways the problem can be addressed, but changing it through laws is the forever solution to the problem. Manufacturers are taking advantage of the weak laws. Therefore, to we need to make are laws without loopholes. In Whalen’s article “Drug Costs: Doctors Attack Drug Prices” the author asserts getting Medicare to negotiate the prices with the manufacturers it can lower the prices. Medicare can drive down the prescription prices if Congress changes the 2003 law that prohibits Medicare from doing this. Since, Medicare has a huge purchasing power it can manipulate the drug prices.
Congress would have to revoke the prescription-drug benefits act for this to take place. Cutting down on the patent law and the generic drugs are something that can also lower the prices drug prices. “The Price We Pay” by Marsa stated that “Greater Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals Act, is aimed at closing legal loopholes that enable pharmaceutical companies to extend their patent protection and prevent competition”. The Pharmaceutical act would prohibit branded drug manufacturers from using the loophole to increase their copying protection. It will also stop them from doing corrupt agreements with other generic manufacturers. This will make them stop the deals to slow or stop the manufacturing of branded drug after the patent expires. Fixing the laws is the best ways to getting affordable medication to the common citizen.
Laws that gave the drug manufacturers authority to increase drug prices can effortlessly be altered for the good of average Americans. This issue impacts the American families instead of individuals. Health is the most valuable commodity to mankind, but to stay healthy in modern times people take medications. However, if they can’t afford these medications how can they live. America is a democratic republic where people hold the power and elect the people who share the common interests. The American public should call for reforms in the drug industry to congress.