Posted by: Tony Carson | 16 November, 2009

Big Pharma tells the sick to swallow another Bitter Pill

Incredibly, while every other country on the face of the earth negotiates its drug prices with pharmaceuticals, the US signed away its rights to do so in law, then negotiated a deal with them which was tacked onto health care reform.

Even as drug makers promise to support Washington’s health care overhaul by shaving $8 billion a year off the nation’s drug costs after the legislation takes effect, the industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years.

In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992.

The drug trend is distinctly at odds with the direction of the Consumer Price Index, which has fallen by 1.3 percent in the last year.

Drug makers say they have valid business reasons for the price increases. Critics say the industry is trying to establish a higher price base before Congress passes legislation that tries to curb drug spending in coming years.

Drug Makers Raise Prices in Face of Health Care Reform, from the New York Times.

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