Pharma: Tax dodgers and price gougers?

KEY POINTS:

-[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Between 2011 and 2015, the Pharma Big 10 jacked up the prices charged to consumers and Medicare and Medicaid for 31 of their most widely-prescribed drugs by at least 40% and as much as 71%[/inlinetweet].

    • -[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Worldwide corporate profits of the Pharma Big 10 jumped by 39% over 2011-2015, from $58.8 billion to $81.5 billion (and to $83.4 billion, or by 42%, between 2011 and 2016).[/inlinetweet]
    Worldwide sales, which neared $300 billion in 2015, were up only 5% over that timeframe, indicating drug companies were squeezing more pro t from every sale.

-[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The Pharma Big 10 had $506 billion in untaxed profits stashed offshore in 2016. [/inlinetweet]

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Healthcare companies, primarily pharmaceuticals, own 22% of the total $2.6 trillion in untaxed profits U.S. Corporations hold offshore[/inlinetweet]. They claim the second biggest share after the information technology industry.

Keep in mind that there is nothing illegal about what they are doing but does it make it right?   The primary objective of any business is to make money for themselves and shareholders, but the moral question becomes “at what cost?”.

Let’s also debunk the myth that pharma needs the money for R&D. [pullquote] R&D budgets are being cut as most pharma companies find it’s easier to just purchase smaller companies that have a promising pipeline.  In addition a new round of layoffs is hitting the pharma sector as CEO’s focus on the balance sheet.[/pullquote]

Routine price increases have become commonplace among the top pharma drugs, some are even increasing the price twice a year.  It’s hard to justify these price increases when pharma has among the most profitable businesses in the world.

Prescription drugs only account for $. 12 of every health care dollar spent, but does that give pharma companies a blank check to continually raise prices?  I have heard from many patients who have a hard time paying for their Rx drugs even with assistance programs.  I just don’t understand why the CEO’s of the top pharma companies don’t unite and say “nobody is going to do without our products because they can’t afford them.  If you need our drugs and can’t pay call us and we’ll find a way to get them to you”.