Prescription drugs in this country cost too much; individual drugs change prices at the whims of those running pharmaceutical companies. Brand name prescription drug prices have risen 76% over the past 6 years, and they’re not slowing down. Patent trolls, or nonoperating companies that extract cash settlements from companies they accuse of patent infringement, can drive the prices of certain medications up while providing no value themselves to the US healthcare system.
And while drug companies complain constantly about the high cost of research, they fail to mention that almost all FDA-approved drugs over the past several years relied on basic research funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). They also don’t mention the record-high profits they’ve been experiencing in recent years. While drug companies bring in only 23% of healthcare’s U.S. revenue, they make 63% of the total profits. In 2017, Purdue Pharma alone earned more than $35 billion from OxyContin sales.
It’s making it impossible for Americans who need drugs to afford their treatment—many are choosing between their medicine and food or shelter.
The runaway growth in drug prices since the turn of the century has led the US per capita spending on pharmaceuticals to exceed $1,000 a year, hundreds more than our peers in France, Germany, or the United Kingdom.
We need to put pressure on these companies to get their prices under control and more in line with the rest of the world. Americans pay twice as much as Australians and three times as much as the Dutch on prescription drugs due to lack of price control. We have to give the federal government authority to negotiate drug prices and use standard international price reference points so pharmaceutical companies can no longer exploit our market and the American people.
If these companies are not willing to compromise, we need to ensure the U.S. government has the ability to force licenses for these drugs to companies who will. Additionally, we need to authorize the creation of public manufacturing facilities to make these drugs, as well as other necessary drugs and unprofitable but necessary medications, for the American people. If all else fails, we need to allow the importation of medications from other countries.
Problems to be Solved
- checkAmericans fund the research for most pharmaceuticals, and yet pharmaceutical companies often gouge their consumers while seeing record profits.
- Millions of Americans are stressed out and going broke trying to afford prescription drugs, which can sometimes become drastically more expensive without warning. I’ve spoken to many Americans who say they have to choose between their drugs and food. Our drug pricing system advantages the companies to the extreme—it’s time for the public to be protected from price gouging for vital drugs they rely on for their continued health.
- checkBring down the cost of prescription medications
As President I will...
- Work with Congress to pass a law to negotiate drug prices.
- Use international reference pricing to set a baseline and allow for forced licensing of medications if companies can’t come to a reasonable agreement with the federal government on cost in line with international prices.
- Create public manufacturing facilities to produce generic drugs (and produce drugs through a forced license) to keep costs at a minimum.
- Also manufacture unprofitable medications and important high-demand medications.
- If all of the above fail, allow for the importation of prescription drugs from other countries.