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

Should Big Pharma halt drug price increases during the COVID-19 pandemic?

That’s exactly what a consumer group is calling on pharmaceutical companies to do. The group is also calling for the U.S. government to regulate medicine cost increases.

Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy group, has urged a freeze on drug price increases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates also believe the regular drumbeat of price increases for existing drugs that occurs on a yearly basis hurts consumers.

Karma Impact reports that AARP estimates drug prices will go up by 5.2 percent in 2020, even as millions of Americans are losing their jobs.

“The pharmaceutical industry is able to jack up prices on drugs that are already on the market year after year and it hurts consumers,” Zain Rizvi, a law and policy researcher at Public Citizen, told Karma. “The U.S. government has [to] step in and be willing to address the monopoly power of pharmaceutical corporations.”

Consumer advocates are pushing for several pieces of legislation in Congress that would limit drug price increases. The House passed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act in 2019, but it has yet to clear the Senate.

In April, Public Citizen fired off letters to large pharmaceutical companies urging them not to raise prices during the COVID-19 outbreak. As of May 5, advocates had received no response.

Do you think drug companies should curb plans to raise prices on drugs during this crisis? Share your thoughts with Voices for Affordable Health.