In recent weeks the EpiPen has been making headlines, and not for saving lives. The device contains a dose of adrenaline that can be immediately injected into a person having a deadly anaphylactic allergic reaction. Mylan, the Big Pharma corporation that manufactures EpiPens, has jacked up prices to astronomical levels leaving many sufferers of deadly allergies in a dire financial situation. Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is stepping into the fray and declaring war on unjust practices in the pharmaceutical industry. Lives are literally on the line.
Drug companies often justify high prices by the costly development process each product much undergo. However in the case of the EpiPen, prices have been swiftly climbing even though the product has been on the market since the 1980s. In 2007 a two-pack of EpiPens cost $100; now the exact same product costs $600. This does not reflect new research and development costs, it is nothing more than a cold-blooded pursuit of profits by a company that has cornered 89% of the autoepinephrine injector market and knows that consumers cannot stop buying their lifesaving product.
Clinton has unveiled a new policy detailing exactly how she will take on Big Pharma and ensure Americans have access to products they cannot live without. Under a Clinton Administration, a federal regulatory body will be set up to monitor price increases in prescription drugs. If prices start shooting up on drugs that have been on the market for awhile, the regulators will step in and penalize drug companies while taking steps to increase consumer access to the unaffordable medication.
Clinton’s plan promises to “demand a stop to excessive profiteering and marketing by denying tax breaks for direct-to-consumer advertising and demanding that drug companies invest in R&D in exchange for taxpayer support – rather than marketing or excessive profits.” Furthermore, a Clinton administration would “encourage competition to get more generics on the market and create a Federal backstop for when there are excessively high-priced drugs that face no competition,” and instituting a cap on what insurers can charge consumers in out-of-pocket costs.
Explaining the motivation behind her policy, Clinton says,
“Over the past year, we’ve seen far too many examples of drug companies raising prices excessively for longstanding, lifesaving treatments with little or no new innovation or R. & D. It’s time to move beyond talking about these price hikes and start acting to address them.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that health is a human right. America cannot let corporations trample on the most fundamental rights of its citizens, leaving the poor to die or suffer crippling debt. We need a president who will protect our vulnerable citizens who suffer from health problems, and Hillary Clinton has a plan.
What do you think?
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.