Last night, Senator Bernie Sanders called the hardworking scientists in the industry of pharmaceutical, a bunch of crooks. The same people responsible for producing antibiotics, HIV antiretrovirals, chemotherapies, vaccines, and countless other lifesaving drugs were titled criminals. Mr. Sanders said that he took fifteen diabetic people from Detroit into a few miles in Canada, and bought insulin for one-tenth the price that was being charged by the “crooks” that are running the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. today.
Yes, in the United States, the prices of drugs are extremely high and the reasons don’t have much to do with ethics and criminality but more to do with the convoluted Research & Development and healthcare systems.
The drug prices are high due to the combination of some of the following factors:
(1) The ridiculous cost of Research and Development. Developing a drug usually costs hume sums of money and takes ten or more years.
(2) Insurance. When someone else is paying for you, you don’t care about the prices or the wastage of that thing and same goes for the prices of drugs.
(3) Patents. Protecting the intellectual property is of extreme importance to innovation.
(4) The desire of maximizing revenues. Even if a drug is being protected by a patent, the drug company cannot set their price too high, because then only a few people would be able to afford it. So a company charges only as much as they think that the market would be able to tolerate.
(5) Medicare cannot negotiate the prices with the drug companies. By law, the Department of Health and Human Services isn’t permitted for negotiating the drug prices with the Medicare patients.
(6) Other countries are able to negotiate the drug prices, so usually they freeload off the U.S.