There’s not much that’s more aggravating than the endless increase of the prescription drug prices in America. Those under the age of 65 are likely to see additional increases of 11.6% and seniors likely to see increases of nearly 10% this year. These surges are following suit to those seen in over the last few years.
President Trump put it in the simplest of terms saying that prescription drug prices “are out of control” and the big pharmaceutical companies “are getting away with murder.” The drug increases far surpass inflation and wage growth and are a sign of how the drug industry does not understand the market basics.
This doesn’t just pertain to name brand companies known as Big Pharma; generic drugs are now one in the same. Some generic drug manufacturers are beginning to operate like the name brand manufacturers they have been in competition with. Mylan, a generic drug maker, purchased the EpiPen auto-injector and then increased its price excessively.
Big Pharma is fighting to keep generic medications off the market and away from consumers. These companies go as far as even paying the generic drug companies to keep their medications out of the drugstores. This is known as a “pay to delay” scheme, frequently rooted in a legal dispute. Another scheme Big Pharma companies use is by making small changes to their products for the ability to declare new patents.
By preventing the generic drug companies from obtaining access to doses of branded drugs they need for testing is by far the most appalling, being that generic makers require nearly 5,000 doses of name brand drugs to prove that their product is equal. Big Pharma claims that the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, a Food and Drug Administration required process created to promote drug safety, excludes them from supplying the doses to the generic companies.
Due to the strategies that Big Pharma companies utilize to keep money in their pockets; the patients, insurance companies, and federal government pay an additional 5.4 billion each year on drugs according to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.
Government agencies should be more assertive in combatting off these schemes seen by Big Pharma. FDA administrator Scott Gottlieb said the FDA will fight more aggressively to get generics on the market. The Federal Trade Commission is also increasing their efforts to contest deliberate anti-competitive practices.
These strides will aid in the fight, but will not win the war. Large need more power in negotiating beginning with the government’s buying of drugs for Medicare. Although, this would entail Congress to put patients ahead of Big Pharma.