The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Big Pharma:
Pay or Die!

Sep 2, 2019

One of every three Americans puts off taking a medication due to cost, according to AARP. Drug prices have no cap on them at all, thanks to Congress backing their friends in Big Pharma. For example, diabetes drug prices have tripled between 2002 and 2013.

Another example: asthma is a chronic disease affecting 25 million people in the country, and one of every 12 children. Ten people a day die from asthma, a disease that makes it hard to breathe.

Ten years ago, the government changed regulations on propellants, an ingredient used with albuterol in the best-selling asthma medication, Advair, manufactured by Glaxo Smith Kline. At the time, pharmaceutical companies said they could find another propellant, and that prices for asthma drugs would not increase very much. Today, a medication that sold for $15 a month ten years ago has been replaced by an asthma treatment for which some companies charge more than $600 a month.

Even though those with insurance pay much less than the rate charged to insurers, the cost of asthma medications to Medicare alone, not counting any other insurance programs, was more than four billion dollars a year. And those without insurance are just screwed.

A professor at an asthma center pointed out, “These inhaled steroids have been available since the mid-60s, and here we are 50 years later and there is no low-cost, generic steroid inhaler on the market. And it seems like a crime.”

Yes, it is a crime–a crime that Congress refuses legislation to put a cap on drug prices, and a crime that Big Pharma blows prices up on medicines people need every day–all for the sake of obscene profits!