Corporate Greed in the Pharmaceutical Industry


     The American pharmaceutical industry is the largest in the world, making up 48% of revenue in the global pharmaceutical market with Americans spending about $535.3 billion on prescription drugs — a 50% increase from 2010 — surpassing inflation. 

     Medication prices, such as insulin — a vital hormone prescribed to those with type one diabetes, a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little to no insulin — have sky-rocketed by 197% from 2002 to 2013 causing one fourth of type one diabetics to participate in insulin rationing — a practice where less than the required dosage of insulin is taken to prolong the amount of uses — an unsafe practice that can result in many health complications, and in some cases even death. Furthermore, the Trump administration only fostered this corrupted industry by providing big pharmaceutical companies with tax breaks and funding their basic research with tax dollars. The American people are paying for big pharmaceutical companies to rip them off. Although, “generic” versions of insulin exists, one vial of insulin costs about $2.28-$3.42 to manufacture; retail prices get up to about $300, not a normal price gouging occurrence as insulin is free in some countries such as Italy and much cheaper in others such as India, Austria, and Canada. Even with generic versions of some medications existing, greedy CEOs are working to take these options away. 

     For example, Martin Shkreli — former CEO of what was Turing Pharmaceuticals — raised the price of Daraprim — a pill for a rare parasitical disease that mainly effects pregnant women, cancer patients, and AIDS patients — from $13.50 to $750 per pill after obtaining exclusive rights to the pill’s manufacturing in 2015; defending his decision as capitalism and saying the insurance of people in need of the pill will cover the cost. Martin Shkreli was found guilty by the New York City Federal Court for illegally creating “a web of anticompetitive restrictions” and was even called a “spoiled brat” by Donald Trump. Shkreli is only serving seven years in prison. 

     The effects of unfettered capitalism on the pharmaceutical industry have and will only continue to create a network of overpriced medications for the American people, unless we take action to cease the contribution of cheating and hoodwinking the public from the avaricious CEOs and “pharma bros.”