The public is fed up with the cancer drug ripoff of runaway prices. Just when you need financial and emotional support you are hit with crazy expenses. Big Pharma has set cancer drug prices way beyond what most people can possibly afford. This has got to stop!
When the $40 billion Big Pharma company Merck launched its immune system drug Keytruda in 2014, it priced it at $150,000 per year. Keytruda thus became one of the most expensive drugs in medical history. But bear in mind that average American workers make $857 per week or $44,564 per year. So how on earth can people come up with more than three years worth of salary for just this one drug?
People Delay Or Skip Big Pharma Cancer Drug Treatments
In fact, many patients are cutting back or trying to do without their expensive meds entirely. As NPR reported:
A Mind Boggling Cancer Drug Ripoff
Then, to add insult to injury, in 2017, the FDA approved another type of immune drug, called Kymriah. Seeing what others were getting away with, Novartis demanded a mind boggling $475,000 for each infusion. This drug treats a kind of leukemia that mainly affects children and teens. So it was truly a case of “your money or your kid’s life.”
When another company released a competing drug, Yescarta, they priced it at a “mere” $373,000 for adult lymphoma, Novartis then reduced the price of Kymriah for lymphoma to match the price of Yescarta. Apparently it could afford to “lose” $102,000 and still make a huge profit. But it kept the $475,000 price tag for kids with acute leukemia.
Who would deny a promising new cancer treatment to kids? Big Pharma, that’s who. Because if you have no insurance, you are basically out of luck. And even if you have an insurance policy with a 20% deductible, you still have to come up with an extra $95,000 to save your kid’s life! But few people have that kind of money lying around.
So, with modern medicine, you may now be able to save a child who has leukemia. But the drug company and its wealthy directors and stockholders demand half a million dollars to get that drug for your kid.
4 in 10 Can’t Meet $400 Emergency
According to a report from the World Bank:
“Four in 10 [American] adults in 2017 would either borrow, sell something, or not be able pay, if faced with a $400 emergency expense. One in five adults cannot cover their current month’s bills, and one in four skipped a medical treatment in the past year due to an inability to pay.“
And, mind you, YOU, the consumer, paid for most of the research on these new drugs through the part of your tax payments that went for medical research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states at its website:
Thus, the “the American people” pay twice–once to help develop these drugs, and again to pay their outrageous costs. “The NIH invests for multinational drug companies” would be closer to the truth. Taxpayers pay billions for new drug development. But then legal drug monopolies generate huge profits for stockholders and overpaid executives. For instance, the chairman of Merck made over $17 million last year! The whole system serves the 1% of the population who own and control the largest companies.
As a result of the cancer drug ripoff, in desperation, many people turn to “crowdfunding” websites like GoFundMe.com to raise money for desperately needed treatments. But, to put it mildly, you can’t rely on this. In fact, if you put the words “cancer treatment” into GoFundMe, you find that almost a million other people got there before you (967,798 to be exact). A few patients, with compelling stories and pictures, hit the jackpot on GoFundMe. But most people do not. So for most of us this modern form of charity is simply no solution.
What can you do?
Many people just throw up their hands in despair. What can we do? We’ve got to grin and bear it. Not so David Mitchell, a patient with an incurable blood cancer called multiple myeloma. His drugs cost him $20,000 for each bi-weekly treatment. That comes to $520,000 per year!
So in 2017 David and his wife launched Patients For Affordable Drugs. They pressure lawmakers to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of patients and taxpayers. The group produced a YouTube video that helps explain the cancer drug ripoff.
However, here at the Moss Reports we believe the solutions proposed at the end of this video do not go far enough. Health care is a right, and all cancer treatment should be covered as part of Medicare-style health care for all.
The U.S. health care system needs a thorough overhaul. One important first step would be to allow Medicare to negotiate the price of new drugs.
Last year, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced H.R. 6505, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act of 2018. The purpose of the bill:
“To require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices of prescription drugs furnished under…the Medicare program.”
Polls show that most Americans support aggressive measures to bring drug prices down. According to the Harris Poll:
Isn’t it time to STOP this Cancer Drug Ripoff?!
There is overwhelming public support for Congress to do this. But Congress has refused to take such a step. Isn’t it obvious why? Big Pharma and its lobbyists have bought and paid for many in Congress. Is it any wonder that the public is disgusted with its political leadership?
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