February 22, 2017 Blogs

The Drug Corporations Will Keep Extorting Us If We Let Them

February 22, 2017

David Mitchell

The drug corporations want to scare us. It’s like extortion: “Pay our outrageous prices or we won’t develop the new drugs you need to stay healthy—or stay alive.”

It’s time to stand up and tell them no! No more of our blood money to feed their greed. We can win this fight, because there is plenty of money to lower prices and cover innovation and fair profits if we stand together.

The facts come from a doctor who heads the Leukemia Department at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine.*
They report that drug corporations spend a little over a penny of every dollar in revenue on basic research, while they spend 20-40 cents of every dollar on marketing and advertising. More than 50 percent of important discoveries are made in independent academic centers, funded by taxpayers.

I take this stuff seriously. I have multiple myeloma; it finds its way around drugs. I need new drugs if I am going to watch my kids get married and bounce a grandchild on my lap one day.

But I’ve had it. I refuse to cower before the men—and it is mostly men—who threaten me with death if I don’t pay up. It’s even more infuriating if you reflect on this: A 2016 report from Associated Press found health care and pharma execs are paid more than leaders in any other industry.

Let’s curb their monopoly pricing power. Let’s change our nation’s policies to price drugs based on the value they provide patients. And give Medicare the right to bargain.

That’s what Patients For Affordable Drugs is all about.
*Hagop Kantarjian, MD, is chairman of the Leukemia Department at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and a Baker Institute scholar for health policies at Rice University.
Vivian Ho, Ph.D., is the James A Baker III Institute Chair in health economics, director of the Center for Health and Biosciences, a professor in the department of economics at Rice University and a professor in the department of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.


Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.