Sick of corporate greed

 

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The scandal of expensive medicines

In spite of advances in medical innovation, millions of people around the world suffer and die from treatable conditions because medicines are too expensive.
Historically this has tragically affected low and middle-income countries. But in recent years, the NHS has also struggled to pay extortionate prices and has had to turn down or ration new medicines. 
 

Corporate profits trump public health

Why are medicines so expensive? Drug companies can charge runaway prices because new drugs are protected by legal monopolies. This profit-driven model has made the pharmaceutical industry the most profitable in the world. Drug companies justify high prices by claiming they need to recoup their research and development costs. But nine of the top ten pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing than on research and development. Also, most early-stage innovative research is publically funded. Drug companies often buy up taxpayer funded research and reap the profits from charging extortionate prices while patients are denied access to vital medicines.

 

Five reasons to challenge the corporate control of medicines

 

1. Health is a right not a privilege

Corporate control over medicines means that some of the most effective, advanced drugs are not affordable to those who need them most. Public health should be prioritised over private wealth.

2. It’s our money

Globally, 30% of investment into research and development of medicines comes from the public. With early-stage innovative research, this percentage is higher. But this research and development is often bought up by pharmaceutical companies and sold at astronomical prices.

3. Monopolising health

Developing innovative and completely new drugs is becoming rarer as it is financially riskier and therefore has lower returns. Instead, pharmaceutical companies make minor weaks to existing drugs so they can be repatented, monopolised and sold at extortionate prices.

4. Even our NHS can’t keep up

Almost 400,000 people die each year from hepatitis C across the world - even though an effective cure exists. At a cost of £39,000 for a 12-week course, NHS England has  been forced to ration its use to less than 1 in 20 patients, reserving the drug for the most severe cases.

 

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