Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Fighting Big Pharma

by: Shonda M. Ponder

Washington, D.C. - May 7, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- We can all agree that the cost of prescription medication is outrageous. When you can get admitted into the hospital and then find that the hospital charges you $100 for one Tylenol pill that you can buy at the store for $3.00 a bottle, there is a big problem. Something has to give somewhere.

So, we have prescription price gouging, prescription costs and prescription abuses as issues today.

I'm sure a lot of you have received a card in the mail for you to use when you go to Walmart to get your prescription filled. I'm not sure how that works, but the way I understand it is it's supposed to give you a discount of some sort. My question is, if Walmart can afford to give a card to all it's customers for a discount, then why can't Walmart just give the cheaper price, period? It doesn't make sense.

The only reason Walmart (or pick any store) is able to do things this way is because no one really pays attention, and everyone needs their prescriptions filled.

On May 1, 2019, Angie Craig's (D-MN, 2nd) bill, the CREATES Act, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. This bill would prohibit brand-name pharmaceutical companies’ current practice of blocking generic and biosimilar manufacturers from making more affordable, safe generic and biosimilar alternatives. The bill has strong bipartisan support and is backed by the AARP and Association for Accessible Medicines.

Capitalism and competition is what has made America great today. To have big pharmaceutical companies block the competition is to suppress freedom for innovation. If you don't like the competition, the proper move is to change your goal. The goal should not be to extort hard earned money from the people who support you unnecessarily. So, The Ponder supports Craig's effort.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on drug pricing, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) asked, "What if we gave the FTC the authority to look at that sort of patent thickets and decide whether there was a noncompetitive effect and provide an equitable remedy?”

“I think that would make perfect sense and that would deal with the problem here… This is an abuse of the system, and giving the FTC power to deal with it will be a great development," answered Michael Carrier, Professor Of Law at Rutgers Law School.

Giving the FTC more power, in The Ponder's view, however, only works depending on the administration. There needs to be a more stable, long-term solution.

While conservatives also are supporting a change in the high cost of prescription medication, liberal think tanks are taking action. An unprecedented and first-of-its-kind congressional score card will be the center of a new accountability push by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Social Security Works, and former Cigna Executive Wendell Potter’s Business Initiative for Health Policy — putting Big Pharma in the center of the 2020 debate. Swing state polling in key presidential states also shows voters support progressive drug-pricing policies and taking on Big Pharma. The Ponder can't wait to see which conservatives also take up the cause and how.