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It’s incredible just how far some people would go to get some money in their deep pockets. Big Pharma, the billion-dollar industry, made $711 billion in profits over the last ten years and they’ve got Medicare to thank for it.
You’d think that’s counterintuitive, but Medicare is prohibited from buying meds based on their cost. And since drug prices are not negotiable, Big Pharma pumps them up shamelessly and just waits for money to flow in. Money the get form ripping off seniors, the disabled and American taxpayers.
Big Pharma has been overcharging the program for years now, but no one has made any effort to change the rules. Obama’s been promising to repeal the prohibition on Medicare negotiations since his first term, but – what a surprised! – he’s never actually DONE something about it. However, The Veterans Administration managed to bear negotiations with drug companies. Obama failed. But senior veterans had the courage to face a bunch of cold-hearted gold diggers and negotiate prices for the meds they need.
Now, let’s take this hypothetical situation. Let’s imagine that Obama finally steps up and demands bulk-purchasing discounts on prescription drugs for Medicare. Let’s pretend Big Pharma has no other choice but to accept this and slash their prices. Do you know how much the federal government could save? $137 billion over a decade!
But I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Big Pharma & co. practically own the government, which is why they have free pass on ripping off Americans as they please. And when I say “ripping off”, here’s what I mean:
Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now (HCAN), told the Huffington Post that the US pays a lot more than any other country for the same meds. According to a study they conducted, we spend 40 times more than Canada on the same drugs. And that’s nothing compared to Japan: per capita drug spending in the US is 75 percent higher. And I saved the “best” for last: we spend nearly 300 percent more on medication than Denmark.
Want to hear the “excuse” Big Pharma uses to get away with these prices? They need it for research and development. After all, how else could billion-dollar companies invest money in producing better and safer meds than by stealing from the ones they claim to help… But looking beyond the absurdity of this argument, we discover it’s not even true. According to the HCAN study, drug companies invest 19 more times in marketing than in research and development. That’s how they make piles of money: advertising products that could be better and safer… but why invest in improving meds when you can go to Hawaii twice a year with taxpayer money?
“Our politicians give all kinds of tax breaks and subsidies to big corporations that don’t need them: Big Oil. Wall Street. Companies that ship our jobs overseas.
Every gift to a special interest, including allowing Big Pharma to overcharge Medicare, is an expenditure of scarce tax dollars. That’s called wasteful spending.” (Ethan Rome for Huffington Post)
And if tax breaks and subsidies weren’t enough already, Big Pharma gets even MORE outrageous privileges:
Fiscal footnotesource: nytimes.com
You probably don’t know this, because “they” didn’t want you to find out… but when the fiscal cliff bill was approved, a tiny little paragraph was slipped in there. It referred to the world’s largest biotechnology firm, Amgen, and it allowed the big shots running the company to sell an expensive kidney medication without government price regulations for the next two years… even though it would cost Medicare up to $500 million over that period.
And hear this: Amgen received this generous gift just two weeks after pleading guilty in a major federal fraud case!
Now, looking back at what I’ve written, I realise just how useless it is. All of it. Our outrage. Our struggle. Our hunger of making this country a better place for our kids. But, on the other hand, I am not ready to give up yet. No matter how small I feel compared to these corporate monsters, no matter how insignificant I am to the government… I’m just not willing to quit trying, in my own way, to make a better future for my family. Are you with me or have you lost all hope?
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