While other pharmaceutical companies don’t raise their drug prices fifty-fold in one fell swoop, as did [Martin] Shkreli, they would if they thought it would lead to fat profits.
Most have been increasing their prices more than 10 percent a year – still far faster than inflation – on drugs used on common diseases like cancer, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
This has imposed a far bigger burden on health spending than Shkreli’s escapades, making it much harder for Americans to pay for drugs they need. Even if they’re insured, most people are paying out big sums in co-payments and deductibles.
Not to mention the impact on private insurers, Medicare, state Medicaid, prisons and the Veterans Health Administration.
And the prices of new drugs are sky-high. Pfizer’s new one to treat advanced breast cancer costs $9,850 a month.
According to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal, that price isn’t based on manufacturing or research costs.
Instead, Pfizer set the price as high as possible without pushing doctors and insurers toward alternative drugs.
How fat can our profits get? How can we go almost as far as Shkreli without attracting attention? How expandable, when you get down to it, is greed?