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BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More

Drug companies see a big tax windfall, but consumers don’t get relief

An analysis of the top 10 US drug makers shows savings went to stock buybacks rather than reducing the soaring cost of medications

Big Pharma profit

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Nearly 1 in 4 Americans say they have a hard time paying for their prescription medications. And it’s not news to the pharmaceutical industry, either.

So surely Big Pharma is working to help people afford their medications, right? After all, drug companies were among the corporations who got a big windfall from the massive tax cut Congress passed last year.

Wrong.

Andy Slavitt cited a study by Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) office that found shareholders, not consumers, are benefiting from the tax cuts. Slavitt, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, wrote an opinion piece in USA Today noting that given this opportunity to reverse the trend of rising prices, the 10 largest U.S.-based drug companies instead announced $45 billion in stock buybacks.

Nothing has been done to curb drug prices, which continue to rise.

Sorry, consumers. Even though you say lowering drug prices is the most important way government could lower the cost of health care, it doesn’t look like a priority. It may take legislation to force the issue, and that, Slavitt says, may be a frequent refrain during election season.

Have you been affected by high medication costs? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.