Big Pharma Blog Jake Johnson Politics

Big Pharma Hikes Prices on 442 Drugs

Prescription pill packs in piles
(Pixabay)

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

Patient advocates on Monday condemned the U.S. pharmaceutical industry for ushering in the new year with price hikes on more than 440 medications, a move that came as congressional Democrats’ plan to lower prescription drug costs remained stuck due to Sen. Joe Manchin’s persistent obstruction.

According to the healthcare firm GoodRx, the prices of 434 brand-name drugs and eight generic medicines were increased by an average of 5.2% and 4.2%, respectively, beginning on January 1, 2022.

The largest hike came courtesy of Pfizer, which raised the price of its anti-inflammatory medication Solu-Cortef by nearly 17%. The price boost took effect after Pfizer had a massively profitable 2021 thanks in large part to its coronavirus vaccine, which benefited from public funding and U.S. government-developed technology.

“At a time when Americans are struggling with the surging omicron variant and prices for prescription drugs that are four times what other wealthy nations pay, Big Pharma began the new year yet again hitting Americans with unjustified and widespread price hikes,” David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs, said in a statement.

Mitchell said the price increases bolster findings of a nearly three-year House Oversight Committee probe showing that the pharmaceutical industry has “raised prices with abandon” and “manipulated the patent system” to prevent fairly priced generic competition.

“Clearly,” said Mitchell, “the need for drug pricing reform is as urgent as ever—Americans are struggling to afford the medications they need and have waited too long for relief.”

The Build Back Better Act, Democrats’ flagship social spending and climate legislation, includes provisions that would allow Medicare to directly negotiate the prices of a limited subset of prescription drugs and penalize pharmaceutical companies that raise prices faster than the rate of inflation.

But the legislation—which the pharmaceutical industry spent big to water down and obstruct—is currently stalled in the evenly divided Senate thanks to Manchin, who is refusing to support the popular bill.

“He can’t be the final word. Too much is at stake,” Margarida Jorge, head of Lower Drug Prices Now, said in a statement last month after Manchin announced his opposition to the current version of the Build Back Better Act.

“The Senate must immediately find a way to lower drug prices in line with the framework agreed to by senators and the White House,” Jorge added. “Families can’t afford to wait.”

According to a recent study conducted by the polling organization Gallup in partnership with the nonprofit West Health, roughly 15.5 million U.S. adults under the age of 65 and 2.3 million seniors were unable to afford at least one doctor-prescribed medication in 2021, a finding that bolstered calls for government action to rein in sky-high drug costs in the U.S.

A Government Accountability Office analysis released in April 2021 estimated that the U.S. pays two to four times more for prescription medications than other wealthy nations.

Mitchell said Monday that the drug pricing-related provisions of the Build Back Better Act would “directly take on Big Pharma’s price gouging” and “deliver relief to patients” by capping out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries, among other changes.

“These reforms are overwhelmingly supported by more than 80% of voters—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike—and will fight inflation by holding the line on premiums and health care costs for patients, employers, employees, and taxpayers,” Mitchell added. “Patients are counting on Congress and the Biden administration to deliver drug pricing reforms immediately in this new year.”

14 comments

  1. Good time for ppl to get off meds that are just covers for self-helped health conditions.

    1. Add to your excellent advice is to seek foods grown in soils with all its communities intact and aiding each other to support so many who really don’t deserve even the dirt they stand on, much less soil’s nutrient potential.

  2. Oh. So, who runs the citizenry? Right. Wall Street, Hedge Funds, Corporations, and, darn, the long arm of the lobbies, gussied up for politicians in all the pimping and prostituting glory.

    In the scheme of things? Wood products quadrupled in price. Price of a plumber ( three times 2018 rate). Right, the capitalist system creates the disaster, develops schemes of death by 10,000 cuts, and then rule the roost of disaster financing, etc.

    Take food, for example: Who controls its distribution . . . err, controls the world, per Criminal Kissinger:

    Symbotic’s website, the trademarked phrase “reinvent the warehouse, reimagine the supply chain” greets visitors. The robotics software company just completed a merger with a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPV) created by Softbank to take it public in a $5.5 billion deal with Walmart, which partnered with Rick Cohen’s technology side business to roll out an “Industry-Leading Supply Chain Automation System” in July.

    Born into the grocery business fortune established in 1918 by his grandfather, Israel, the third generation food distribution magnate is the sole proprietor of C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. – the largest wholesale grocery supplier in the world. Described as “the biggest company no one has ever heard of”, C&S presides over one of the single most important links in the global supply chain, distributing virtually everything found in your supermarket aisles to more than 7,700 stores through its 49 distribution centers across the country.

    Cohen keeps a very low profile. C&S doesn’t even put the company logo on its trucks and despite being one of the richest men in the world, he is usually left out of the wealth ranking lists put out by publications like Forbes. The last time any details about his personal fortune made it into the news back in 2013, his net worth was calculated at $11.2 billion. His relatively modest lifestyle in the small city of Keene, New Hampshire, belies his influence in the tectonic changes currently taking place in the movement of physical goods and natural resources around the globe.

    https://siliconicarus.org/2021/12/13/double-digital-entry-and-the-new-world-purchase-order/

    1. Dude, you need to write a book and also make it more coherent. I have same problem. I agree with a good deal of what you say, also known commonly in our current culture as a “rant.” You go guy, and then go beyond.

    2. Last half is way more coherent to me than first. Flip it around or work on the first half or forget it. I do hope this post has tons of people with means and will to support people like you. I appreciate your view, hard or easier for me to understand and I thank you for expressing it. I pray it becomes less difficult in coming times, and you aid me in shouting down my fears as does so many, yet so few it seems in my small world, of few supporting our Assange, our Hales, our Snowdens, and so many more. Localize your economies in your city, county, state as much as you can. Do not just include the arts, but reach out to your especially small food growers who are doing or trying to do it right. Support them. The change the world needs will come from the bottom up. See localized stacked enterprises done by one large land owner in 100,000 Beating Hearts, and then see how what he did on his own land could be a shared enterprise among contiguous land owners who care about keeping their communities alive. We might also begin a conversation, as they have in the SW, about water needed by cities and others, being exported to other countries. The argument over our water resources being used to grow exports is a coming issue the more “woke” and shook up by climate disaster people become. Forget those in charge. Every person on earth has third party rights, whether they own land or not, are wealthy or not, or came from such or not. Everyone needs clean air, water and food. None of us can have it except the exceptionally rich at this point, but we can have it if we take matters into our own hands and place those hands into our own soils and change the history of this country into something very different from its true origins, and certainly more admirable and worthy than what we’ve become thus far. What if we are the worst of the worst of humankind’s treatment of the earth and each other? Something wrong came here, the worst of the wronged. That wrong has continued for far too long. Natives and slaves preferred British imperialism to the “pilgrims/colonizers.” A fascinating clue to our history, no? Time it ended, no?

      1. Ahh, I am just playing with a very slim frame of discourse (sic) here in this comments box thing fewer and fewer digital magazines provide.

        For most of these pieces reposted on Scheer Report, of course there is always a kernel of truth, sometimes more. The problem is most pieces are siloed, devoid of systems thinking and deep bottom up action.

        Has the entire ranch been sold down the river? Sometimes, it seems that way. And, echo chambers persist, so when we see the light, we tend to just want to vomit up the pain, the disease of capitalism.

        Absolutely, there is enough land and enough people to grow agrarian-centered perma-culture intentional communities of healing, and alas, retrenchment. To stave off the 4IR, and the impending world without ice. The K12 system, however, and the media and infor-tainment and entertainment — amusing ourselves not to death, but toward our digital prison — those are powerful forces of atomizing people, especially in USA. Every man, woman,, child, an island unto themselves. Circle the wagons. Just for me and my own.

        Sharing economy, mutual aid, ecosocialism, working together, barn raising, respect for the elder, the land, the people of the land, well, those are long gone traits largely so.

        Again, this comments section is either rant, hyperbole or sometimes honest reaching out for some sense of a human on the other end of the keyboard. But I sense you are seeking a just world. I am sensing you understand the systems of oppression. This issue is, though, we can’t ruralize ourselves as a collective, individually, to fight the oppressors. We have to scale it all up. Our fellow man and woman, for the most part, are not evil, not like the One Percent, the Five Percent, and the Eichmann’s. And, there are some deplorables from the gutter who are natural born killers. I’ve seen them, been with them, reported on them.

        Some stories are just emblematic of a person on earth finding self —

        https://dissidentvoice.org/2021/12/end-of-the-year-story-of-hope/

        But really, out here in Oregon, I am just one guy with a truck load of, well, life, and it is truly a struggle with lockdown mentality, with people in the Zoom Doom, all around me.

        And we have to tap dance around the big issues —

        I write this, but boy do I mean something completely else — https://www.newportnewstimes.com/opinion/man-oh-man-follow-some-of-the-science/article_6c833462-69a4-11ec-816b-276061b52755.html

        Again, living, breathing and writing in a Disneyfied, McDonoldsified, Walmart-fed world is tough, for sure. So many colonized, for sure. But keep on doing.

        Here’s fiction of mine, sort of award winning, but not East Coast elite agented or Hollywood primed.

        https://cirquejournal.com/book/wide-open-eyes-by-paul-kirk-haeder/

  3. When a nation’s government is “captured” by financial interests, they can pretty much do whatever they like, the people, the environment, the system all be damned.

    1. Start a localized economy. Will FU the globalized 1%. And they need to be FkdUpp. It is the fastest, most communal and easily agreed upon idea of all to save life on the planet. Localize your economies not just to stop globalization, but to be sustainable in and during climate disasters. Hey, climate disaster is coming your way and you do not want to depend on what you need to let go of in order to survive, right? Fuck globalization except in times of need and aide, which would make all players look like empathetic players rather than murderers like black robes infiltrating your country of ideas and culture and trying to replace yours with theirs. Very poor idea, genetically speaking or otherwise. Anyone who knows dogs intimately, knows the breeds with most intelligence, given you attribute intelligence to another species other than yourself, are those who are cross bred. The mutts and Heinz 57s of the world. They also have least diseases. We don’t talk eugenics much cause that’s what the 1% thinks they are all about. They have never been more mistaken.

  4. Big meat, man, and how’s that Build Back Better New Green Deal working with the meat market? Insanity. Monoploy = Gouging = Inflation = Demand for, well, a terrible product, for sure — industrial meat, poltry, pig, cheese:

    President Joe Biden is meeting virtually with farmers and ranchers to discuss initiatives to reduce food prices by increasing competition within the meat industry, part of a broader effort to show the administration is trying to combat inflation.

    The White House event occurs Monday afternoon as higher-than-expected inflation has thwarted Biden’s agenda. Consumer prices in November rose 6.8% over the prior 12 months — a 39-year high. Inflation has hurt Biden’s public approval, become fodder for Republican attacks and prompted Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to cite higher prices as a reason to sideline the Democratic president’s tax, social and economic programs.

    Biden is building off a July executive order that directed the Agriculture Department to more aggressively look at possible violations of the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act, which was designed to ensure fair competition and protect consumers. Meat prices have climbed 16% from a year ago, with beef prices up 20.9%.

    The administration is targeting meat processing plants, which can shape the prices paid to farmers and charged to consumers. The White House issued a fact sheet saying that the top four companies control 85% of the beef market. In poultry, the biggest four processing firms control 54% of the market. And for pork, the figure is 70% for the four biggest firms.

  5. Ain’t easy in the world we built, but if you find your way out of needing pills or drugs for your conditions, it will be by growing or supporting a food growing operation that does not use synthetics on your food or in your body, you will not need all these damn drugs they keep selling us for what they’ve created. Got no scientific evidence cause it would not be allowed, but what you eat so greatly determines your health. I am 66 yrs and take no drugs and have been living a poor but rich in plant nutrient diet for most my life. No drugs. Just beautiful plant nutrients from healthy soils that make it possible. We must be rid of corporate agriculture. We bring our soils back to health (and our oceans),; we also bring ourselves and world back to health as well. Choose well and informed. Choose to stay healthy. In this case, market might not be the ploy, but simple people power. Be unhealthy and needing drugs or be healthy and not needing drugs. Simple choice but can be daunting in an urban setting. Since I am rural, I have no idea what appears in their aisles but I would love to see more cities devoting space to urban gardening so the children of our cities get the great nutrition they need to become the great saving grace they were meant to be.

  6. The USA pretending to be a democracy is shown again to be nonsense. The system allows such gross inequalities and corporate control that normal people have no effect on laws and are the pawns of “reps” like Manchin. All the Congress endorses war spending, sanctions, destruction of peace all over the globe while 90% of the population see no improvement of their lives-quite the opposite as we see from this example.

  7. Focusing attention on drugs’ costs and the dead matter of money, minus their costs to life and the living, might be taken for misdirection. How many of these and all the many drugs pushed by the pharmafia and their partners in crime, like the FDA and its approval racket, will do more harm than good, as a routine matter of bizzness, damaging lives with addiction, disability, disease, death? How few of these poisons will ever come to light for the dangers they promote among us lab rats in this most overmedicated nation? Why call for more of the same at cheaper rates, as if to render our demise more affordable?

    Justice is lacking when we reduce its terms to those of capital. It takes partial truths, like the predatory practices of profit, and surrounds them with unspoken lies, like how money robs us of reason for living more largely than the death sentences we mistake for medicine. ‘Health care’ is a if not the leading cause of mortality in this nation, in no small part from physicians’ prescriptions of products derived from a model, or myth, of medical warfare that lays people to waste, destroying the patient in order to save her/him.

    Where is the fullness of justice when our lives are under siege to such madness as industrial medicine makes? Will it be forever lost to genocidal eugenics now again rearing its ugly head in the Frankenscience of ‘vaccines’ genetically modifying and digitally enslaving us? Will we ever wake again to our humanity, when it has been so denatured by the machinery of production as to have morphed into a monstrous mutant of synthetic constuction?

  8. obama care is mainly responsible —the ACA the most ruling class legislation perpetrated by dems in decades. the US medical industry is not merely fascist and greedy, it reflects Christopher Lasch: “in America the citizen has been transformed into a client, the worker into a consumer”
    those that have lived in Europe or Latin America are fully aware that medical care is superior far less costly and most medicines can be purchased for very little without a RX from a provider.

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