Seniors struggle with paying for their prescription medications, with many seniors having monthly drug bills of $500 or more. High blood pressure, heart conditions and even memory loss can be treated with medications. The drug companies lobbied heavily for Medicare insurance drug coverage benefits to meet their profitability needs.
Now, pharmaceutical company CEO's share that they have raised prices "just for to make more profits". The entertaining part of these comments at a recent industry conference is that drug companies argued they needed to raise prices to cover the excise tax they agreed to pay in order to pass President Obama's healthcare reform but they failed to mention the substantial increase in sales due to everyone having health insurance.
David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca, said that there is no good transparency on pricing in the United States market, one of the few countries where companeis can freely raise prices.
One of the benefits of national healthcare programs is that these countries will negotiate the drug prices. Federal law in the U.S. prevents the government from negotiating with drug companies over theprice of drugs. If a drug is approved by the FDA, medicare and Medicaid, the taxpayer, has to pay for it. A simple reform law could allow Medicare and Medicaid to bargain with drug suppliers the same way insurance companies do — and would save billions in national healthcare costs, while forcing drug cmopanies to start competing with each other on prices as well as safety.
Drug company Shire (SHPGY) CEO Angus Russell said: “Prices were just shoved up every year to make more money and meet earnings, to be blunt." He was referring to mass market drugs used to treat common conditions like high blood pressure.
Glaxo SmithKline (GSK) CEO Andrew Witty said that everyone else was raising prices but they did not and thinks that ultimately prices will come back down.
The costs of medical care is the reason for 60% of bankrupticies in the USA and when seniors run out of money to pay for care, their long-term nursing care is paid for by Medicaid.