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Congress must address prescription drug price gouging

May 17, 2019
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

A recent news article reported that more than 40 states are suing pharmaceuticals for price gouging. The suit has hard evidence that the generic drug industry has perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people. Instead of generic drug prices becoming a fraction of the patented product price, the drug companies conspire to keep the price high. There is written evidence of drug companies communicating with each other about this activity. The buyer is given no choice but to pay this greatly elevated price.

One example is the price of insulin. The price for one vial of insulin cost as low as $35 for a vial in 2001. Today the prices are as high as $431 for a vial, 12 times greater. It is reported that Canadian insulin prices are 1/10th that of the States.

One of the most egregious price increases was the Acthar medication for a rare children's disease that jumped from $40 per vial in 2001 to over $35,000 per vial by 2015. It usually takes at least three vials to stop the disease.

It isn't just the pharmaceutical companies. It is also the distributors and the stores who are gouging. Our Congress has responded to the most effective lobbying group in Washington by providing them a blank check for a product that is essential for some people to live. Even the marketing of opioids that have resulted in the death of 272,000 Americans in the last few years has not been curbed by Congress.

Prices in the U.S. are much greater than Canada or overseas. Medicare is not even allowed to negotiate pricing with the pharmaceutical companies as do other countries.

Many doctors act as agents for drug companies prescribing medication when it isn't needed and in some cases prescribing carelessly. A friend of ours recently died because of a doctor's mindless error in prescribing medication.

This is a travesty that affects everyone who uses medication. I encourage people to make their concerns known to pharmacies and politicians. Spread the word. Americans are being fleeced by the drug industry.

John Benedict

Cape Coral



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