Sanders is Right about Prescription Drugs

Sanders is Right about Prescription Drugs

(This quote is from Sander’s Facebook Site.) 

Provided by the Sanders Campaign web site. jp
Provided by the Sanders Campaign web site. jp

In 1999, I took a busload of Vermonters – mostly women, many of them dealing with breast cancer – over the Canadian border into Montreal. As long as I live, I will never forget the looks on their faces when they bought the same medicine they were buying in Vermont, in the U.S.A., for one-tenth of the price – one-tenth of the price. These were working-class women who were struggling with breast cancer and who didn’t have a whole lot of money. They were able to purchase the exact same medicine for 10 percent of the price in Montreal. That makes no sense to me, and it only speaks to the power of the pharmaceutical industry over the Congress that we have Members here who vote for all kinds of free-trade agreements – they just love free trade. We can bring in any product we want from China. We can have lettuce and tomatoes coming in from farms in Mexico. But for some strange reason we cannot bring in brand name drugs from Canada. We just can’t do it. We can’t figure out how to do it. And everybody here knows what the reason is – it is the power of the pharmaceutical industry, their campaign donations, and their lobbying efforts.

This is hardcore business ethics. Rigging the game so that Americans are forced to pay premium prices is wrong. This kind of thing and it is an American constant, a continuous cycle of political spending and favors designed to enrich a tiny number while impoverishing the rest, is key to understanding the appeal of Donald Trump. Those voters are so angry that it doesn’t matter what he says or does as long as he is clearly not part of a political system that rigs the game against them on a regular basis.

Americans bear much of the burden of medical research through their tax dollars but are subjected to the agony of hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for drugs whose actual costs are measured in pennies. This is an enormous transfer of wealth from the vast majority of Americans to the bank accounts of a few. Why should we Americans pay twice, first to develop the drugs and then, once again, when we need them?

Who designed this? – the drug companies and their allies in the government. Heads, they win, tails you lose. Every single time.

This isn’t right.

We can do better that this.

James Pilant

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2 thoughts on “Sanders is Right about Prescription Drugs

  1. It was in the year 1966 when I entered an organisation I was given the training on Cost Audit that was then necessitated by the Govt. of India, on Hindustan Lever Ltd. [Unilever]. My boss was a brilliant Cost Accountant. Every two weeks he had to submit cost data to GoI on costs of a particular product under Cost Audit, Vegetable Oil. Millions of tins were being sold at that time. The price was Rs.25 [0.38 cents]. The increase that would be given might be a fraction of a rupee. The costs, direct indirect had to be allocated or apportioned as the case maybe that included stock profits or loss as commodity exchange market futures was prevalent then. It was not possible for the company to drop a single fraction of cost.

    In 1983 Dr. Kaplan came out with ABC – Activity Based Costing. The cost drivers he had come out with couldn’t compete with the ones we had used in 1966. I said at that time ABC was an old wine, in an old bottle with a new label.

    Cost Audit by GoI was then extended to many pharma products. Then Petroleum MNCs were nationalised as well as banks in 1969. ABC globally was not much used by US companies. I feel it is time US takes note of Cost Audit for essential commodities and fix the maximum retail price. I am giving you a link to a good article: How India controls the price of pharmaceutical drugs: US can learn from India how to control prices.

    Had we not in 1966 brought in some controls India would have become Haiti.


  2. Pingback: Sanders is Right about Prescription Drugs – Pilant's Business Ethics Blog

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