BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More
Oregon State University pharmacy professor Daniel Hartung has long suspected that rising prescription drug costs are driven not by investment in research, but by a desire for higher profits.
Now he has proof.
An article from The Oregonian outlines this new evidence from Hartung and his research team. The findings were revealed through anonymous interviews with four pharmaceutical executives and published in the journal Neurology.
“What we thought was going on was essentially confirmed,” Hartung said. Pharmaceutical companies “have expectations from their shareholders and Wall Street to meet growth. They need to continue to grow.”
In their attempt to grow, companies have made drug prices too high. A February survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly four out of five Americans think drug prices are “unreasonable,” while three in 10 said they haven’t taken their medications as prescribed due to cost.
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical company executives told Congress last February that high drug prices are needed to fund research for new medications. However, the four executives who spoke with Hartung cited a need for more revenue and an unchallenged ability to raise prices as two of the core reasons drugs keep getting more expensive.
So, will this new research lead to radical change, even lower drug prices?
Hartung believes the fact that only a very small number of people were willing to even talk anonymously for the study is “emblematic of the opaqueness of the pharmaceutical industry.”