Robert Reich: While other nations set wholesale drug prices, the law prohibits the U.S. government from using its considerable bargaining power under Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate lower drug prices.
Julie Warner: The reason why there is a market for unregulated enhancement drugs and why people are turning to foreign or online drug dispensaries is drug prices which continue to grow beyond inflation.
Peter Dreier and Donald Cohen: It is time for Congress to put the cop on this pharmaceutical beat before more Americans die from the profits-over-safety priorities of this rogue industry.
Marian Wang: Pfizer is adding yet another twist to its efforts to delay generic competitors. As The New York Times reports, the company seems to have struck a deal with certain pharmacy benefit managers to block generic versions of Lipitor.
Joseph Palermo: The “conservatives” and “Tea Partiers” are quite convincing at playing the aggrieved victims, but what, exactly, do they have to be “aggrieved” about?
Wendy McElroy: A new slate of drugs now addresses a wide range of so-called disorders, or dysfunctions, that former generations considered environmental problems or lifestyle choices: from obesity to attention deficit, from erectile dysfunction to social anxiety (shyness), from menopause to alcoholism.
Tracy Emblem: Up to 40% of the drugs Americans take are now imported, and up to 80% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients in drugs are manufactured by companies in foreign countries.
Matthew Kavanagh: If we drive up the cost of drugs, fewer people get them and we waste hundreds of millions of dollars in US-taxpayer dollars to boot. President Obama promised to support the rights of countries to make low-cost AIDS medicines available to their people, but instead his trade representative is threatening countries who are doing just that.
Something, anything, has to be done at some point to show that the Obama Administration is not just the latest group of good people with good ideas that are absorbed into a system that makes Hamid Karzai look like a clean government activist. The corporate money so clogs the arteries of our body political the whole damn thing is sclerotic, choked off from the life-giving oxygen of democracy.
While the health insurance industry’s immoral, amoral and, sometimes, illegal treatment of policyholders is an appropriate prime culprit and target in the current push for reform, the fact is that physicians, hospitals and drug companies are getting an undeserved pass by much of the media.
The virus, though, only appears to be as deadly as other yearly viruses as the deaths associated with the new virus are at a minimum. But the fear is now established and people want the vaccine.
The current state of the health care “debate” illustrates, even with the election of Barack Obama and large Democratic majorities in Congress, we might have already lost the vocabulary for collective moral discourse.
The White House confirmed it has promised Big Pharma that any healthcare legislation will bar the government from using its huge purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices. That’s basically the same deal George W. Bush struck in getting the Medicare drug benefit.