Big Pharma Watch: Drug Makers Tone Deaf on Crisis of Affordability

Aug 22, 2019

BIO CEO Says Prescription Drugs Are Not Too Expensive

If you needed any more evidence that Big Pharma is tone deaf to the growing crisis of rising prescription drug prices, look no further than a Tuesday C-SPAN interview with BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. During the interview, on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” program, Greenwood answers no when he is asked whether he thinks “drugs are too expensive.” Greenwood goes on to defend the status quo and high prices on drugs that have no generic competition as “basic economics.”

Greenwood’s comments are the latest example of brand name drug makers’ tone-deafness and commitment to business-as-usual at a time when there is unprecedented momentum to hold the industry accountable and lower drug prices.

The fact is, prescription drug prices are out-of-control thanks to the anti-competitive practices and egregious pricing behavior of Big Pharma and those prices are hurting Americans:

  • 10 Times: Over The Past Five Years, Brand Name Drugs Have Increased At 10 Times The Rate Of Inflation. (Wayne Drash, “Medicare Drug Prices Soar At 10 Times Rate Of Inflation, Report Says,” CNN, 3/26/18)


  • One In Four: One Out of Four Americans Cannot Afford To Use Their Medications At The Recommended Level And End Up “Underusing” Or Skipping Dosages. (“Public Opinion on Prescription Drugs and Their Prices,” Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/1/19)


  • 79 Percent: Nearly Eight Out Of Ten Americans Say the Cost of Prescription Drugs Is Unreasonable (“Public Opinion on Prescription Drugs and Their Prices,” Kaiser Family Foundation, 7/15/19)

And the industry’s status quo mentality is keeping prices rising:

  • 27 Percent: In June 2019, Big Pharma Hiked Prices On 106 Drugs By An Average Of 27 Percent. (Tatiana Darie, “Drugmakers Boost Prices Up to 909%, Defying Political Pressure,” Bloomberg, 7/9/19)


  • 4,483 Increases: In The First Seven Months Of 2019, Big Pharma Increased Prices On Prescription Drugs 4,483 Times. (Lina A. Johnson & Nicky Forester, “Brand-Name Drug Prices Rising At Slower Pace, Lower Amounts,” Associated Press, 9/19/19)


  • 4 Times Inflation: Over A Six-Month Period, Prices Were Raised On 3,443 Drugs By An Average Of 10.5 Percent – A Pace Four Times Faster Than The Rate Of Inflation. (Sarah Owermohle, “Drug Prices Persistently Rising Despite Trump Efforts,” POLITICO, 7/1/19)

It is crystal clear Big Pharma is not interested in becoming part of the solution to lower prescription drug prices. To deliver relief for American patients and consumers, Congress must seize the moment to hold Big Pharma accountable with market-based solutions to increase competition, boost transparency and stop the industry’s price-gouging.

A positive first step would be passing The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019, a bipartisan drug pricing package introduced by Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Wyden (D-OR). The legislation passed out of the Senate Finance Committee with support from both sides of the aisle in late July.

Learn more on the Senate Finance Committee drug pricing package and the momentum for action in Washington HERE.