Drugsters Back On Top

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What the press refers to as “tweaks” in the new version of health care legislation would appear to hand Big Pharma a sizeable victory, allowing the companies to extend the lifetimes of brand name drugs by selling them at discounted prices within the Medicare drug plan. This is portrayed as a magnanimous gesture by the profitable pharmaceutical makers. And to help the poor guys out a little and lessen the strain on their stockholders’ pocketbooks, the government apparently will come in to pay the companies some of the dough they lose in providing the discounts. Another way of putting this is that it seems the discounts aren’t really discounts at all. In the world of congressional smoke and mirrors, they’ve miraculously become a subsidy.

Government policy ought to push less expensive generic drugs into the marketplace. Mandating their preferred use by Medicare would be one small step in that direction. Generally speaking, the brand-name drugs should be eliminated when their patents run out. The proposed legislation apparently will have the effect of lengthening the company monopoly on brand names, thereby assuring higher, not lower prices.

Although somewhat confusing, this article from the New York Times may help you get a feel for what’s going on.

Bottom line: cost control is sacrificed market monopoly.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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