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How Big Pharma Is Killing Americans and Bankrupting the Country

April 30, 2013 in Blogs

By Thom Hartmann, AlterNet

Lifesaving medications and commonly prescribed drugs in America today are absurdly expensive here – and only in this country – because Big Pharma is ripping off Americans.

Each year, millions of Americans are dealt the devastating news that they have cancer, and each year, millions of Americans, many of whom are uninsured, have to figure out how to pay for the life-saving treatments that they need.

And unfortunately, that decision can be a very hard one.

Thanks to America’s for-profit health insurance industry, prescription drugs are a big business.

In fact, in 2012, the top 11 global drug companies made nearly $85 billion in net profits.

They made these profits by slapping extraordinary price tags on the prescription drugs and health treatments that Americans are forced to rely on in order to survive devastating diseases like cancer.

But while drug companies have been largely able to get away with robbing Americans left and right for the past several decades, more and more people are speaking up about the outrageous costs of lifesaving treatments.

A group of more than 100 leading oncologists from across the globe have penned a journal article, announcing their plans to start a campaign to force drug companies to slash their profit margins.

In the article, the groups of oncologists ask, “What determines a morally justifiable price for a cancer drug? A reasonable drug price should maintain healthy pharmaceutical industry profits without being viewed as 'profiteering'.”

But cancer drugs aren’t the only drugs on the market that are gouging the wallets of Americans.

Last year, 11 of the 12 new-to-market drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration were priced above $100,000 per-patient per-year.

And, Americans pay nearly 50% more for comparable prescriptions in the United States than they would in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and a host of other developed nations.

For instance, look at Nexium, a drug commonly prescribed to treat acid reflux.

In Spain, a prescription for Nexium costs, on average, $18. In France and the United Kingdom, Nexium costs, on average, $30 and $32 respectively.

But here in the United States, a prescription for Nexium costs, on average, a whopping $187, …read more


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