SUMMARY: Three House Democrats on a key committee voted against the measure to lower drug prices as PhRMA ramped up its lobbying dollars to buy politicians. “I understand that the pharmaceutical industry owns the Republican Party and that no Republican voted for this bill, but there is no excuse for every Democrat not supporting it,” Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote in a scathing statement.

SUMMARY: Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is popular with voters because the media has been focused on the high price of some drugs, but this measure won’t lead to lower healthcare costs. Still, in a JAMA study, the median net income (earnings) expressed as a fraction of revenue was significantly greater for pharmaceutical companies than nonpharmaceutical companies (13.8% vs. 7.7%).

SUMMARY: Treating Americans with diabetes now costs more than the U.S. Navy’s annual budget. And the world’s richest nation is losing this battle — even before COVID.  85 percent of people with diabetes are overweight. While not all diabetes cases are linked to weight gain, overeating and eating too much is still the main cause of type 2 diabetes.

SUMMARY:

  • The states struggling the most with covid-19 infections also have the least healthy populations.
  • About two out of five American adults are obese, according to the CDC. Mostly because they don’t understand how what they eat effects their health.
  • Only 23% of people get enough exercise and only one in ten eats enough fruit and vegetables, says the CDC
  • Less than half of Americans are proficient readers, and only 12% are considered by the country’s health department to be “health-literate”. 
  • Over one-third struggle with basic health tasks, such as following prescription-drug directions.

KEY POINTS:

  • About three in ten adults report not taking their medicines as prescribed at some point in the past year because of the cost. This includes about one in five who report that they have not filled a prescription or took an over-the counter drug instead, and about one in ten who say they have cut pills in half or skipped a dose.
  • The public sees profits made by pharmaceutical companies as the largest factor contributing to the price of prescription drugs. About eight in ten across partisans say profits made by pharmaceutical companies are a “major factor” in the price of prescription drugs.
  • The May 2021 KFF Health Tracking Poll finds about two-thirds of adults say there is “not as much regulation as there should be” when it comes to limiting the price of prescription drugs.
  • There are proposals to allow the federal government to negotiate with drug companies to get a lower price on medications that would apply to both Medicare and private insurance and the KFF Health Tracking Poll finds majorities support this proposal, regardless of party identification

Source: Public Opinion on Prescription Drugs and Their Prices, Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues. KFF.org

SUMMARY: One area where Republicans and Democrats agree is that drug pricing is out of control. Retail price increases for widely used brand name prescription drugs consistently exceeded the rate of general inflation between 2006 and 2020. In 2020, retail prices for 260 brand-name prescription drugs widely used by older adults increased by an average of 2.9 percent. In contrast, the general inflation rate was 1.3 percent over the same period. The US Federal Trade Commission is taking a more aggressive antitrust approach as eight US antitrust bills targeting the pharmaceutical industry have been recently introduced.

SUMMARY: Obesity has many causes, and while we would like to think the answer is as easy as people exercising more and eating less, it isn’t that simple. There is disagreement whether obesity is really considered a disease or a behavioral risk factor, similar to smoking, alcohol, and substance abuse that may lead to disease. Obesity is a multifactorial disease in which environmental conditions and several genes play an important role in developing this disease. Obesity is associated with neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington diseases) and neurodevelopmental diseases (autism disorder, schizophrenia, and fragile X syndrome). Some of the environmental conditions that lead to obesity are physical activity, alcohol consumption, socioeconomic status, parent feeding behavior, and diet.