Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them.
No matter where we come from in Wisconsin, unaffordable prescription drug prices are putting our health and economic security at risk. Powerful drug and insurance corporations divide us to pad their own profit. For too long, big pharmaceutical corporations have raised prices so high that millions of Americans can’t afford the medicines they need to treat illnesses, manage their health, and take care of their families.
According to a 2019 survey, 53% of Wisconsinites are worried or very worried about the cost of prescription drugs. 18% of Wisconsinites said they did not fill a prescription because of cost and 15% said they cut pills in half or skipped doses of a medicine. This is unacceptable!
What can we do about it?
Citizen Action supports establishing a State of Wisconsin Prescription Drug Affordability Board. The Board would evaluate drug prices and set limits on how much consumers will pay for high cost prescription medications. The Board will also increase transparency in the drug industry identifying and shedding light on price-gouging.
Big Pharma won’t fix itself and they don’t have your back!
Prescription drug prices jumped 10.5 percent over in just the first six months of 2019–an increase four times greater than inflation. While cost of the four most popular types of insulin tripled within a decade and forced patients to ration care, Eli Lily–the nation’s largest insulin producer–continued to reap billions of dollars in revenue. In 2018 alone, Eli Lilly brought in $9 billion in revenue from their diabetes medication while paying $0 in federal income taxes under the Trump tax law.
Drug companies are more interested in preserving their profits and monopoly power than our health and well-being. Drug companies spent $172 million on lobbying in 2018–more than any other industry–to protect their monopolies and protect their power to dictate prices.
Prescription drug companies often justify their soaring prices with claims that investment in new, life-saving medicines costs money. But that claim is false. Big Pharma companies spend far more on marketing than they do on research and development. Instead, it is taxpayers like us who fund the development of new drugs. Taxpayer-funded research through National Institutes of Health contributed to every one of the 210 drugs approved between 2010 and 2016, and the U.S. federal government is the world’s largest funder of biomedical research.