Americans pay almost double the rest of the world combined for the best drugs

As public health advocates ranted at efforts by right-wing Democrats in Congress to ease prescription drug price reforms proposed in their own party’s flagship program, Build Back Better, a report released Thursday by a leading progressive rights group found Americans pay almost twice as much. for the 20 best-selling drugs in the rest of the world combined.

“Empowering Medicare to fight drug price inflation is the responsible and sensible way to resist industry greed. “
—Rick Claypool,
Public citizen

The Public Citizen report, entitled United we spend, compares the US revenues of the top 20 “blockbuster” drugs to global sales figures as reported by drug companies in their annual files to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or foreign equivalents.

According to the analysis, US sales of the top 20 drugs totaled $ 101.1 billion in 2020, while sales of the same drugs totaled $ 57 billion in the rest of the world.

The report found that “Drugs with large sales revenue gaps include Gilead Sciences’ anti-HIV drug Biktarvy, which had sales revenue in the US five times the rest of the world; and Trulicity, a type 2 diabetes drug from Eli Lily, Ocrevus, a multiple sclerosis drug from Roche, and Enbrel, an autoimmune disease drug from Amgen and Pfizer, all three of which performed a turnover in the United States more than triple that of the rest of the world. “

Rick Claypool, Public Citizen research director and co-author of the report, said Thursday that “this mind-boggling scam Big Pharma is getting off is an insult to the American people.”

“Empowering Medicare to fight drug price inflation is the responsible and sane way to resist industry greed, something lawmakers on both sides have been promising to do for years, remember. Claypool added.

A survey released Thursday by Invest in America and Data for Progress found that 73% of likely U.S. voters support Medicare negotiating the cost of prescription drugs.

However, Republican lawmakers and some Democratic lawmakers have fought efforts to cut prescription drug prices and other reforms. For example, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) – who campaign on a promise to “lower prescription drug prices” – has been one of the strongest opponents in Congress to allow Medicare to use its enormous purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices.

As Common dreams Members of Congress have been the main recipients of largesse from large pharmaceutical companies reported Wednesday, as drugmakers and private health insurers have so far spent $ 171 million in 2021 on lobbying, the largest number of all sectors.

In the House, three key Democrats blocking drug price reform – the Representatives. Scott Peters (Calif.), Kathleen Rice (NY) and Kurt Schrader (Oregon) —have taken $ 1.6 million together from Big Pharma during their careers. In the Senate, two main Democratic opponents of strong price reform — Sinema and Senator Tom Carper (Del.) – have has received over $ 1.2 million in contributions to a pharmaceutical industry career campaign.

Earlier this week, a group of 160 patient advocates from across the United States sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Demanding Democrats in Congress include drug price reforms – especially allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription rates – in the $ 3.5 trillion range. Build Back Better budget reconciliation package.

“Millions of American families are rationing drugs to help pay the bills,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of the Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program. “So far the US government has not even asserted the power to help by negotiating more reasonable prices. The pharmaceutical companies are clearly taking advantage of this weakness and abusing their monopoly privileges – and everyone in the States – United is paying the price. “

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