Why we pay more for drugs.

Certain politicians in the U.S. actually believe we have the best health care system in the world.   Well if it’s not the best, it certainly is the most expensive.

It’s my contention that we don’t have the best system of health care but rather we have the best system of revenue generation for suppliers.  Consider drug prices:

Companies like Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca have grown dependent on higher U.S. prices to generate profits as generic rivals to their best-selling medicines enter the world market, Europe’s government-run health plans clamp down on spending and sales growth in emerging markets stutters.

And:

The price variations become clearer when studying individual drugs. Switzerland’s Roche sells a month’s supply of cancer medication Avastin at about $8,800 in the United States, compared with 2,577 pounds ($3,978) in the U.K. and 6,800 Swiss francs ($7,177) in Switzerland.

Read the article for more.

Medicynical Note:  Why is this?  Consider that drug companies spend more on lobbying and campaign contributions per year than any other business group in the country.  It’s not even close.

In both cases, you’d be wrong. It’s actually the pharmaceutical industry that spends the most each year to influence our lawmakers, forking over a total of $2.6 billion on lobbying activities from 1998 through 2012, according to OpenSecrets.org. To get some perspective on just how big that number is, consider that oil and gas companies and their trade associations spent $1.4 billion lobbying Congress over the same time frame while the defense and aerospace industry spent $662 million, a fourth of Big Pharma’s total.

Interesting, they spend more on influencing Washington so that we can pay more.  And it works beautifully for big PHarma.  It is the best congress money can buy. 

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