Drugmakers Continue Raising Prices Despite Criticisms

drugs

By Alyssa Potenzone,
Money & Investing Writer

Despite the New Year, drug manufacturers decide to continue with price increases.
Equity analysts have concluded that drug makers including Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., and Horizon Pharma PLC increased prices nearly  nine percent from what it was prior to December.

Drugs are expensive to begin with and adding yet another price increase to already hiked prices makes drugs become unaffordable and thus subject to much critique.

In one instance, analyst Piper Jaffray concluded the price of Hetlioz, a drug that helps with a sleep disorder among blind people is 76 percent higher than its original price when it first came out.

While costs of production may be ever slightly increasing, it certainly does not provide justification for a 76 percent increase.

Responding to customer complaints, drug maker Pfizer said “the company offers ‘considerable discounts’ off the list prices, and the company provides medicine for free to patients meeting income criteria.”

Yet, those who do not fall below the income minimum have to suffer paying higher prices for a drug that months ago cost them less.

Politicians as well as doctors are also criticizing the increase in drug prices. Being that prices in the drug industry typically get raised annually, it has reached a point now where medications are too expensive for many people.

As for the presidential political race, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, and Bernie Sanders all have advocated and argued for lowering the drug prices.

Drug maker’s ultimate goal in raising prices despite all ongoing criticism is to “‘signal there’s still pricing power’” as analyst David Steinberg mentioned in an interview.

Enbrel, a drug used for treating rheumatoid arthritis is just another example of these astronomical prices.

“Enbrel costs about $704 a week for the typical dosing for treatment… or more than $36,600 a year” according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The drug maker of Enbrel said its price “reflects its clinical benefits”, but if patients cannot afford the medication, manufacturers will end up losing clients anyway.

While drug companies continue to claim that price hikes are a “‘way of insuring that we can survive and develop these programs and bring these new innovative drugs to market,’” patients suffer with either paying the high drug price or doing without the drug.

To make matters worse, the cost of healthcare is rising too according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers 6.8 percent predicted increase in costs.

Unfortunately, across the entire drug industry, prices continue to go up leaving few alternatives for patients.

It is unfortunate that drug companies are raising their prices higher than some people can stand to afford.

Certain people with illnesses in which it is necessary they get the proper medication, suffer a lose-lose battle as it is too expensive yet it is vital to their survival.

Prices do in fact subtly go up from year to year, but to charge nearly 10 percent more for a drug than the year prior is obscene.

It is valid to increase prices slightly for the continuation of research for development of more drugs, but the price should be capped at some point that way it is not subject to annual increases.

At the end of the day pharmaceutical companies are businesses and exist to make a profit.

Only this instance, is rather morbid as it effects people’s health and lives at the expense of making a larger profit.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 26th print edition.

Contact Alyssa at
alyssa.potenzone@student.shu.edu

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