The American people are fed up of getting ripped off by the pharmaceutical industry, which aside from Wall Street, is the most powerful forces in the U.S. Everyday more and more people are complaining about not being able to afford their prescription drugs.
People have to decide between buying food or buying the medicine they need. Seniors are forced to cut their pills in half. Some have lost their homes and declared bankruptcy due to their ridiculous medical bills. While others are getting sicker than they should because of these high prices. One woman reported that her family couldn’t sleep in their car after losing their house because they had to sell the car, and her wedding ring, just to be able to pay for their prescription drugs.
Nowadays, the American people are starting to ask the questions that need to be asked:
Why is it that the U.S. pays, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs?
Being the richest country in the history of the world, why is it that almost one out of five adults in America can’t afford to fill the prescriptions prescribed to them by their doctors?
How is it possible that Americans can walk into a pharmacy and find that the prices they are paying for their prescription drugs can double, triple or quadruple, overnight?
Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is simply: Track the money.
From the late 1990s, the pharmaceutical industry has spent more than $3 billion on lobbying, and they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on top of that towards campaign contributions to persuade politicians. In 2016, they employed 1,380 lobbyists – almost 14 for each member of the Senate to get Congress to do their bidding.
In 2016, the big pharma companies spent $131 million alone to beat a ballot initiative in California that would have required the state to pay equal to what the Veterans Administration pays for prescription drugs.
Americans are dying because they cannot afford the medications they need, the five biggest pharma companies in the U.S. generated over $50 billion in profits in 2015, and the top ten pharmaceutical industry CEOs rang in $327 million in total compensation. The ex- chief executive officer of Gilead, John Martin, became a billionaire because his drug company charged $1,000 a pill for Sovaldi, a Hepatitis-C drug that costs $1 to create. In India, the same exact drug can be purchased for only four dollars.
As of today, pharmaceutical companies are significantly increasing their profits because Congress has done nothing to regulate them. Their only mission is to generate as much profit as possible. They could care less about the American people.
The hard truth is that in today’s world, prescription drug companies are legally able to import 80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients and 40% of prescription drugs from additional countries. The one thing that’s illegal is allowing people in the U.S. to take advantage of the lower prices these countries charge for prescription drugs. This must change.
The concept of importing safe and affordable prescription drugs is popular among the vast majority of Americans. According to a poll conducted last year by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 72% of Americans are in favor of buying prescription drugs imported from Canada. Our bill makes it possible for them to do that, both inexpensively and safely. Dropping the cost of prescription drugs may affect the profits of the big drug companies, but for millions of Americans, it will ease suffering and save lives.