The Real October Scare: Drug Prices and Big Pharma Profits Still Too High

Next week closes out yet another month of frighteningly high medication costs and healthcare industry profits

WASHINGTON – As October comes to a close, it rounds out yet another month of truly horrifying realities about the astronomical costs of medications pharmaceutical companies are demanding from the American public. Study after study shows that Americans can’t afford their prescribed medications and as a result, they are forced to make impossibly hard choices. Restore Public Trust released the following statement:

“The Trump administration keeps claiming that it wants to lower drug prices. But it’s clear from the numbers that those are empty words; staggeringly high drug costs just aren’t falling,” said Lizzy Price, director of Restore Public Trust. “President Trump and Alex Azar are still failing to stand up to Big Pharma at every turn. What have we seen this year, as Trump and Azar have ramped up their hollow rhetoric? Bigger profits for drug companies and heavier burdens on sick Americans. It’s scary, and it’s way past time for the administration to get serious about protecting the public over industry profits.”

It’s been an exceptionally hard year for sick Americans, who are finding the medications they need pushed out of reach by disturbingly high drug costs. Among other realities:

  • Over 10 years (2007 to 2017): Prescription drug price expenditures increased more than 40 percent to a whopping $333 billion.
  • March 2019: The CDC found one in three uninsured Americans didn’t take their medication as prescribed to reduce costs.
  • June 2019: A survey found 26% of patients with diabetes rationed insulin at least once in the last year. A separate 2018 survey demonstrated that nearly 1 in 4 American diabetics had asked their doctors for a cheaper alternative to insulin.
  • October 2019: The White House’s own drug pricing report, which used a misleading metric slanted in its favor, showed drug prices decreased by less than one percent over 12 months.
  • October 2019: The ICER report found drug price increases were unsupported by advances in innovation.

Meanwhile, Big Pharma has seen nothing but huge paydays:

  • August 2019: Second quarter earnings calls revealed pharma heavy hitters raked in close to $25 billion in profit this year with former Eli Lilly executive Alex Azar leading the health department.
  • September 2019: An Axios analysis found health care industry year-over-year profits increased by 23 percent.
  • October 2019: Center for Responsive Politics found PhRMA spent $16.3 million lobbying in 2019. Notably, over 70 percent of those lobbying on the group’s behalf previously held public service roles.

President Trump has stacked his health department with lobbyists and friends of Big Pharma. Instead of advocating on behalf of American patients, they are advancing Big Pharma’s bottom line and deepening the drug industry’s pockets. Restore Public Trust is focused on exposing the real intentions of these individuals and holding them accountable to the American people they are supposed to serve.

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Press Release

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