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Big Pharma being held Accountable by Congress

A thorough report outlining Big Pharma atrocious pricing and anti-competitive practises was released earlier this month by the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The study is the result of a nearly three-year investigation in which the committee combed through more than 1.5 million pages of internal pharmaceutical company documents. The committee’s findings add to the already enormous momentum in Washington for action by refuting the pharmaceutical industry’s deceptive rhetoric on innovation and demonstrating how the branded drug sector prioritises money before people.

The committee discovered that Big Pharma companies raised prices more than 250 times using techniques that manipulate the system and discourage competition to retain product monopolies after studying the price histories of 12 of the best-selling pharmaceuticals in Medicare. These strategies include product hopping and shadow pricing, which are practises intended to protect revenues against generic competition, as well as coordinating price spikes with other pharma companies.

These 12 pharmaceuticals are now “priced at a median of about 500 percent higher than when they were brought to market,” according to the committee. The committee also discovered that the businesses behind these 12 drugs were granted over 600 patents, essentially barring competition from more cheap alternatives for decades. Indeed, the patents already in place for these 12 pharmaceuticals may potentially prolong their monopoly lengths to a combined total of approximately 300 years.

Big Pharma pricing tactics in the United States are unsustainable, unjustified, and unfair, according to Chairwoman Carol B. Maloney (D-NY), who announced the committee’s findings. Big Pharma frequently defends its actions by stating that they are necessary to fund research and development (R&D) into new medicines. The report of the Oversight Committee also debunks the frequently refuted hype about innovation.

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