Pharma Lobbying — Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

by | Aug 3, 2021 | Money and Politics

Photo by Danilo Alvesd

Pharma Lobbying — Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

by | Aug 3, 2021 | Money and Politics

Photo by Danilo Alvesd

Been to the pharmacy lately to pick up a prescription and find that your drug cost and/or copay has gone to the moon? Pharma companies, they really should be called cartels now, spend a lot of money to keep these prices high. As you can see in the chart below, they collectively spent over $306 million in lobbying legislatures in 2020 alone.

This sounds like a lot of money until you factor in that the industry generated $511.4 billion in 2019, 80 percent of which was generated in the US. So, $306 million was just a marketing expense and the return on that investment was substantial.

Statistic: Leading lobbying industries in the United States in 2020, by total lobbying spending (in million U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

What did $306 billion buy BigPharma in 2020? Their efforts were mainly directed toward preventing legislation to bring drug prices under control. If you Google “pharma lobbying results” you will see an endless stream of headlines about the pharma cartel’s efforts to stem any governmental action to bring their prices under control.

In the same manner that illegal drug cartel operations seek to corrupt law enforcement’s efforts to rein them in, the legal cartels seek to stop the law itself from even being allowed to look at their activities. We have seen the prices of diabetes and asthma drugs go out the roof. A drug for Hepatitis C comes at a price of $18,000.

Street drugs are to some degree a matter of choice: buy them if you can if you’re addicted, or go through the withdrawal. A nasty choice but it is a choice.

But in the case of medicinal drugs, the choice is even worse: buy them or risk dying. The choice of which kind of cartel is more evil we leave to the reader.

Legal Profiteering

Profiteering refers to taking advantage of unusual or exceptional circumstances to make excessive profits.The practice of profiteering raises it’s head when there are circumstances of natural disasters and other situations of shortage and need. But the idea that one can wring excess profits from the sales of medicinal drugs seems to have escaped this classification in the US. A previous article on this site gives some specific examples.

It is way past the time these practices need to be called out for what they are: criminality and the ransom of personal health.

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