Creation of a Crisis: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Chooses Profit Over People

Citizen Action of Wisconsin joins national release of report revealing how drug company profits and CEO pay put lives at risk

For Immediate Release

February 21, 2019

CONTACTs:

Robert Kraig, Citizen Action of Wisconsin (414) 322-5324, robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

Ariela Weinberger, Roosevelt Institute, aweinberger@rooseveltinstitute.org

Milwaukee: Citizen Action of Wisconsin is joining the Roosevelt Institute and People’s Action in  releasingProfit Over Patients: How the Rules of our Economy Encourage the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Extractive Behavior.”

The report, written by Roosevelt Fellow Katy Milani and Advocacy and Policy Associate Devin Duffy, explains how a country that comprises less than 5 percent of the world’s population represents between 30 and 40 percent of the global market for prescription drugs. It outlines how the pharmaceutical industry creates wealth for for shareholders at the expense of patients.

“The industry has been allowed to push a false narrative that claims high drug prices are necessary to fund the research and development of cutting-edge medicine,” said Milani. “In reality, these profits fund an industry that exploits a broken system to avoid true competition and puts shareholder wealth first.”

In Wisconsin, we know all too well the devastating impact exorbitant drug pricing has on people’s lives. As Governor Tony Evers said in October: “We shouldn’t have to use GoFundMe to pay for medical bills, and we shouldn’t walk into our pharmacies wondering whether a prescription is going to cost an arm or a leg or both,” said Evers. “The bottom line is that too often health care isn’t affordable in Wisconsin, in large part due to the high price of prescription drugs. It’s time for us to change that.”

In the suburb of Greendale, Dennis Flink, a printing professional, had his life disrupted by a prescription drug corporation dramatically raising the cost of his his blood pressure medication to pad profits. He had been taking that particular medication for 6 years successfully with no side effects.  As he struggled to find a replacement he suffered unbearable side effects that interfered with his work and personal life. At one point, the effects became so disruptive to him, he stopped all his medications to seek relief, which could have led to a life threatening situation.

The report unveils important data for everyone in Wisconsin to understand about how their prescription medicines became so expensive, and undoes lies and myths the industry has allowed to flourish,

“This important report provides compelling evidence that the system is rigged to maximize corporate profits at the expense of patients,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “There is a pressing need for Wisconsin to reverse 8 years of inaction by reining in rampant price gouging by prescription drug corporations. The only way to make vital medications affordable is for our democracy to intervene through bold federal and state action.”

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