The cost of our health

Drug prices increase with no improvements


Graphic by Makenzie Hofert

Story by Makenzie Hofert, staff writer

The pharmaceutical industry has taken advantage of their power through the years, so it seems. The prices to needed prescriptions have skyrocketed beyond the necessity, people in dire financial situations are unable to buy these medications due to increased rates and many name-brand companies of the prescription medications are raising their prices with no medicinal improvements.

For instance, a company named Lantus, a name-brand Insulin supplier, increased the price of their drugs by 49% in 2014. That’s just one company that has potentially put people with reduced income and diabetes at stake, as stated by NPR. Many other well known drug companies are doing the same thing, releasing the same medication at higher cost with no change to the medicine itself. 

The government alone spent over $340 billion dollars on prescription drugs in 2018, while the average American spends $1200 a year on those same drugs. Each year those numbers raise at a different percent rate, and at one point it will more than likely no longer be affordable, as it barely is now. Medicine is a prominent factor in our everyday lives, and a future in which so many are not able to access an essential part of many people’s survival is not one anyone deserves to live in. Illness would overwhelm us and there would be a simple solution to lower the prices based on rate of income yet we couldn’t use it. 

Another medication that was increased was Daraprim, which treats infectious diseases and parasites. In 2015, the price rose from $13.50 to $750. Nitrostat, which is used to help with chest pain, increased by 477% between 2012 and 2017. The initial price was $15.91 and ended at $91.76. That is a crazy increase of price for just one company. Pfizer, who sells the drug, had no explanation. There were no changes in its chemical formula or the way it was processed, says Newsweek. It seems more about money than the health of people. The absence of market pressures could be creating less competition around similar products.

The citizens of this country deserve to have the reassurance that when they become ill there will be a solution, but these companies are taking that away from them. Sickness comes in many forms, some worse than others. Genetic illnesses and airborne illnesses both will create tension for the people, so whether you were born with it or you caught something from the air, the price of your healing is outrageous. 

The pharmaceutical industry has so much power that it doesn’t care about unresolved conflict. As long as money is coming in, everything will remain as so. There are so many ways these manufacturers could make their money and keep their customers happy. The medicine provided at higher costs could at least have more benefits and improvements. Overall, people seem to care, but not enough to do anything about it. There are complaints but no real action towards fixing this escalating problem. Hopefully the puzzle pieces to fixing this problem will fall into place, and soon, or else this problem will grow more and more over the years if it has already.