A recent article in the WSJ took a conciliatory tone to the price increases exercised by big pharma companies for 2019.

Most of these increases were on older medicines and “the increases were modest, though a few were double-digit-percentage increases,” the Journal reported.  Since I have no dog in this fight, so-to-speak, I can be the one to ask the question:  “Why were there increases for the older medicines  – why not decreases?”  And, I’m assuming that other countries’ costs were not raised – countries who already pay far less for drugs – but just the costs on Americans?  Why is this, one would ask?  Because the costs in America, for the most part, go through medical insurance coverage billings and, thus, no one holds the drug companies accountable.  This is the answer.  In other countries, where drug companies desperately want to sell their wares, they’ve used the windfalls that they’ve received from American payments to make up for any deficiencies that they might experience.  You see how this works – ?  The WSJ continues, “Overall, those companies raised net prices 2% on average this year, down from 8% in 2013.”  So, I would ask again why weren’t there decreases, since they were feeling magnanimous, rather than increases.  Why weren’t they raising other countries’ drug prices to make up for any operating deficiencies (of which there, actually, are none), rather than those of the American public.  The easy answer is that Americans are easy prey because they have long become accustomed to outrageous drug prices.  Just look at what happens when a customer has to pay for their own medicine, for a change, and finds out that it costs $100. per pill.  There’s always a public outcry and lots of sympathy generated for the individual affected, but no real ire directed at the drug companies.  And, I’m not suggesting that all reading this post should go “all out” against the drug companies, but, rather, I am suggesting that there be forums created – all of you who are so keen on FaceBook posts, for example – that can explore why it is that the drug companies “tax” the Americans in untoward and unreasonable amounts and are reluctant to do so in the foreign marketplace.  If we want our health care costs reduced, this is certainly one of the ways to accomplish it.  Which is why the WSJ has hastened to add, after iterating that the drug companies have been magnanimous and only raised costs this year 2% on average, that this is, “the latest sign that the pharmaceuticals industry isn’t chiefly to blame for high health-care costs.”  Well, I would beg to differ – we might allow the Journal to claim that drug companies aren’t chiefly to blame, but they’re certainly a strong contender for the title.

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