The pharmaceutical industry has one of the lowest approval ratings of any industry in the country.
A recent poll found that just 31% of Americans trust the pharmaceutical industry, and 78% of Americans believe the industry is responsible for the high cost of health care. Seventy-two percent of Americans believe the industry has far too much influence over our government.
Americans are right to view Big Pharma negatively. The reason drug costs are so high is because that’s how they’re set by the manufacturers. Pharmaceutical giants blame the costs on the expenses associated with drug research.
The costs, however, are significantly offset by the generous government funds and tax cuts these companies receive for research and development. Big Pharma is receiving even more government aid in recent years, yet drug costs continue to rise.
he drug giants don’t account for the public good in the calculation. It’s about what will make them more money.
The industry desperately wants to deflect blame for the country’s health care woes to another target: pharmacy benefit managers, known as PBMs.
PBMs are third-party companies that insurers use to negotiate lower drug prices. The pharmaceutical industry wants to make them the scapegoat for skyrocketing health care costs and is spending big to do so.
This is a dubious argument, but it’s the pitch made in ads airing all over America right now.
You’ve probably seen the ads. They say PBMs are the bad guys. They say we need to add more government regulations on them to keep health care affordable.
Who is their sponsor? None other than the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA. The group doesn’t even try to hide the connection, placing the PhRMA logo at the bottom corner of the screen.
It’s rich for an industry notorious for being greedy to accuse someone else of putting profits over people.
The PhRMA logo itself should discredit the ads among Americans. The commercials want to persuade ordinary citizens to support new legislation that would curtail PBMs and benefit PhRMA.
If PBMs are limited in how they can negotiate drug costs, that allows the drug giants to set the price as they see fit. The drug industry wants to make it seem that they are fighting for lower costs and less bureaucracy by blaming PBMs. In fact, PhRMA wants this legislation passed so it can have even more power over our nation’s health care system.
According to the pharmaceutical industry, it would be better to leave drug prices up to the — you guessed it — pharmaceutical industry. That’s as nonsensical as it is laughable.
PhRMA argues that PBMs charge too much for their services and are giving the industry no choice but to raise drug prices.
The independent Government Accountability Office has of course found differently. Its study found PBMs save billions of dollars.
Whom should members of Congress believe: independent analysts, or the major drug companies?
PhRMA views PBM legislation in the same light as its taxpayer subsidies. It’s another government-granted gift to increase their profits and power.
Congress shouldn’t be fooled by PhRMA’s shameless lack of self-awareness. Contrary to what the group’s ads argue, the problem of high drug costs lies squarely on the drugmakers’ shoulders.
We should be skeptical when the drugmakers blame someone else for their own problem.