COVID-19 AND THE CRISIS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES
Before the COVID-19 crisis, more than 58 million Americans struggled to afford their prescription drugs. Now, the economic impact of the pandemic continues to leave millions more American workers, families and seniors struggling just to stay afloat.
Prescription drug prices are out-of-control. Too many Americans were already unable to afford their medications and resorting to dangerous measures like rationing — before the historic economic uncertainty of the current crisis. It is critical patients are able to take their medications as prescribed in order to stay healthy.
Despite the unprecedented economic uncertainty facing millions of Americans, Big Pharma began hiking prescription drug prices in July and increased prices on at least 42 brand name drugs in the first week of the month. Eleven of Big Pharma’s price hikes that have gone into effect in July equal or exceed five percent.
Big Pharma companies traditionally hike prescription drug prices in two large biennial batches: At the start of the year and mid-year in early summer. In January of this year, Big Pharma hiked prices on more than 600 drugs by an average of 5.2 percent. Last summer, Big Pharma hiked prices on 104 drugs by an average of 13.1 percent. During these challenging times, Big Pharma should have acknowledged American patients and families need relief, not higher prices, rather than sticking with their price-hiking business-as-usual approach.
Americans rightly recognize Big Pharma’s track record of putting profits over people. In fact, a recent Gallup and West Health poll found nearly nine in 10 Americans are concerned Big Pharma will capitalize on the coronavirus crisis to hike prescription drug prices. The survey found more than half (55 percent) of Americans are “very concerned” about Big Pharma increasing drug prices.
And a recent national survey, commissioned by CSRxP and conducted by Morning Consult, found American voters overwhelmingly blame Big Pharma for rising prescription drug prices, believe pharmaceutical companies still put profits over people and back market-based solutions to hold drug companies accountable and lower drug prices.
Big Pharma routinely tries to justify drug price hikes by pointing to research and development (R&D). The truth is:
Read more on CSRxP’s survey HERE.
Big Pharma is busting profit and revenue expectations and receiving billions of dollars in research funding from taxpayers while millions of Americans are struggling. Engaging in price hikes during a pandemic, while receiving billions of dollars from taxpayers to help develop COVID-19 treatments, demonstrates why policymakers must act to hold Big Pharma accountable. Americans are looking for their elected officials to support solutions to hold drug companies accountable for their price-gouging behavior and anti-competitive tactics.