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The Escalating Cost of Drugs: A Deep Dive Into the Soaring Prices and Their Impact

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Anthony Raphael
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The Escalating Cost of Drugs: A Deep Dive Into the Soaring Prices and Their Impact

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The Skyrocketing Drug Prices: A Global Concern

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The median price of brand name drugs has undergone a steep rise, increasing from $2,115 in 2008 to an alarming $180,007 in 2021. This drastic escalation in prices has sparked concerns about anti-competitive practices and potential price-gouging by Big Pharma. Amidst this, there are growing demands to hold drug manufacturers accountable and push for a reduction in drug prices.

Big Pharma's Plan for Price Hikes in 2021

Industry giants such as Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda Pharmaceutical, GlaxoSmithKline, and others are planning to raise the prices on over 500 drugs in the United States in January 2021. This move comes as the sector gears up for the Biden Administration's plan to significantly discount prices for 10 high-cost drugs in the following September. It also coincides with concerns over escalating inflation and manufacturing costs, and potential disruptions in the supply chain due to the extended conflict in the Middle East.

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Despite these challenges, drug manufacturers have generally capped their increases at 10% or below. The median price increases remain at around 5% since 2019. Pfizer has announced the most January price increases, followed by Takeda-owned Baxalta and Belgian drugmaker UCB Pharma.

Concerns Over New Drug Pricing

While drug manufacturers have scaled back their price increases for established drugs, the prices for newly launched drugs have reached record levels. The cost of these new drugs topped $220,000 in 2022, suggesting a more than a 20% increase from the preceding year. This trend of escalating prices for new drugs poses a significant challenge to patients and healthcare providers alike.

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The Impact of Subsidy Cuts: Iran's Crisis

Iran is currently experiencing a significant surge in the prices of some essential drugs, with costs quadrupling due to government plans to cut major subsidies. The majority of Iran's drugs are supplied by domestic manufacturers, but they heavily rely on imported raw materials. There has been confusion over whether the government has already cut the subsidy, and the prices of essential drugs continue to surge.

This situation has led to speculation that the government has removed the subsidy without informing the public, causing panic and anger among Iranians. They fear that the removal of the subsidy could make it virtually impossible for them to access potentially life-saving medications. Iranian teachers who have shown support for student protests against the regime have been disciplined or called in for questioning by authorities.

Conclusion: The Need for Accountability and Transparency

These incidents highlight the urgent need for transparency in drug pricing and the accountability of Big Pharma. It also emphasizes the importance of government subsidies in ensuring affordability and accessibility of essential drugs for the public. As the world grapples with the ongoing pandemic and other health crises, the focus should be on ensuring that patients can access the medications they need without being burdened by astronomical costs.

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