KEY TAKEAWAY: The idea that pharma should have to “open their books” is shortsighted. Pharma companies, like most companies, are public companies and as much as we don’t like it have shareholders who expect a return on their investment.
OK. I get it. Prices for prescription drugs are ridiculously high and in most cases unjustifiable. Patients, consumers and politicians are angry and they want to point fingers, but in an era when anger is at a high point we have to remember that we are a capitalist economy. Pay for profit health is the law if the land for most healthcare industries and CEO’s, who want their golden parachutes, want high drug prices to validate their enormous salaries.
To be honest price increases and high costs for prescription drugs is a short term tactic and will not survive strategic changes to health care. To remain profitable and attract investors pharma executives are going to have to do two things. First, they are going to have to innovate the way new drugs are developed and, second, they need to remind employees that our primary job is not ROI but is to help people for when we help people profits will follow.
As I have said many times before the real explosion in healthcare costs is not due to Rx drugs. There has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of diabetes worldwide, which has been exacerbated by the growing obesity problem across the globe. Once thought of as primarily a childhood disease – sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes, now mostly Type 1 diabetes – the obesity crisis linked to the adoption of a high-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-calorie American diet has resulted in skyrocketing rates of diabetes among adults across the world. In addition the costs associated with diabetes and long term care are going to strain healthcare budgets.
I’m not happy with high drug costs, but asking pharma to open the books is not the answer. Everytime a new drug gets priced in the stratosphere, it moves voters and politicians closer to moving to a single payer system which is pharma’s worst nightmare.