High Prescription Drug Prices? It’s Your Fault!

Today’s LA Times offers a seemingly well-intentioned article telling seniors ways they can obtain cheaper prescription drugs.

But in doing so, it puffs up Big Pharma — making it seem like pharmaceutical companies are already doing all they can for seniors. At the same time, it puts the onus on seniors to do more “research, compromise and [asking of] aggressive questions” to get the medications they need at affordable prices.

In particular, the LA Times writes:

…millions of patients qualify for programs that could provide them with free drugs — but are unaware of such assistance. Through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers give free or low-cost drugs to the uninsured who make less than $41,300 for a family of four.

Since 2005, more than 3.5 million people have signed up for the program, said Ken Johnson, senior vice president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an advocacy group [aka Big Pharma’s lobbyists] for pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies. But according to the Partnership, more than 29 million might have qualified.

So generous! If only, those 29 million Americans only knew what Big Pharma was offering.

Of course, Big Pharma knows that their “Partnership” won’t achieve anywhere near full enrollment without any government involvement.

As Newsweek reported in 2005:

Drug companies say they expect to shell out more than $4 billion worth of medicine this year for the [Partnership for Prescription Assistance]. But as M. Asif Ismail, who investigates the drug industry for the Center for Public Integrity, points out, that’s a tiny fraction of the $550 billion drug companies made worldwide last year. Ismail calls the hotline “a public relations stunt.”

If Big Pharma really cared, they wouldn’t be fighting so hard to kill legislation empowering Medicare to negotiate for fair prices, and creating a system where all seniors can get affordable medications without jumping through hoops.


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