The Ruse of “Free Market” in the U.S. - Who's Really Getting Screwed?
Numerous times a day I hear the concern expressed by both my patients and people outside of clinic: “I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW MUCH MY MEDICINE COSTS!”
It’s no secret that healthcare prices are out of control. Americans are paying some of the highest costs in the WORLD for prescription drugs, medical devices and health insurance. Interestingly, despite our diverse political beliefs, we seem to unanimously agree we are being price gouged by pharmaceutical, medical insurance, some healthcare entities and medical device companies.
During my travels in the last few years, I have made some important observations which reinforce our shared concern. More importantly, I am absolutely convinced the solution to our issue is rooted in electing government officials who are willing to challenge the establishment and break free from the ruse of “free market” which continues to be erroneously and intentionally sold to millions of Americans saying it will lower prices in healthcare when in reality…it has not.
Here’s some interesting observations:
If you prefer things that are straight to the point here’s the alternate version of the table:
When traveling abroad it becomes abundantly clear that we are paying at least 10 times more than other countries for prescription medicines. This concern has been validated time and again by reliable sources. What is also disheartening is the fact that the prices quoted for the prescription drugs in the U.S. were also discounted with coupons in many cases (meaning that if the coupon is not available at the time of purchase then the drug will cost you even more).
It’s no secret the pharmaceutical industry has been increasing, and some say “price fixing” the market for quite sometime.
The lawsuit filed in January of 2017 alleges “…that the three companies that make insulin (Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, and Lilly) have been part of an ‘organized scheme to drive up prices at the expense of patients who need insulin drugs to live.'”
Oh, and let us not forget these campaign contributions totaling almost $22,000 to Chuck Fleischmann’s campaign from two of the three companies being sued (Sanofi and Novo Nordisk) and who are also responsible for price gouging you and your family.
Sadly, this trend has continued. One parent shared with me that “I paid over $1300.00 for my child’s EpiPen.” This medicine is used to save her child’s life in the event of an allergic reaction. The travesty is that it costs literally pennies to manufacture.
Another patient shared “My medicine Pristiq went generic so I tried to take the generic to maintain my cost of $5.00 per month but the generic didn’t work as well and so when I switched back to the brand name I was going to be charged over $200.00 per month. I can’t afford that so I’m not taking my medicine because I can’t get it.” And no surprise, my patient suffered symptoms of her disease because of this issue.
This is not simply an argument of “I don’t like paying too much for a product.” For many people I see, this is the difference between life and death. We now have a drug that is reported to essentially CURE hepatitis C…but one three month treatment course costs over $100,000 which essentially makes it inaccessible to 98% of the people who need it.
If the cost issue hasn’t hit home enough this is one last piece of compelling data I want to share with you. No surprise, when drug prices go up, quality of life in many ways goes down including: increases in your debt, having less money to spend for groceries, and spending less time with your family.
What is the solution to these issues simply stated?
1. Introduce price-caps in the healthcare industry.
2. Remember that the “free market” can price gouge you and your family and doesn’t actually represent a “free market” when it is controlled by monopolies.
3. What do we do with corrupt government officials like Chuck Fleischmann who complain about the cost of healthcare but haven’t said a word about price-capping and also receive staggering campaign contributions from these monopolies? We VOTE. HIM. OUT.
“It’s time to elect government officials who are TRAINED to CARE for you.”
~Dr. Danielle Mitchell
Running for the 3rd Congressional District of Tennessee