Patients For Affordable Drugs (PFAD) penned the July 20 report, which revealed that the U.S. drug industry raised the prices of various drugs a combined 1,186 times this year. P4AD seeks to curb the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.
Between June 24 and July 5, drug firms increased the prices of 133 products – with a median price increase of five percent. PFAD added that for the month of July alone, 64 drug companies increased the prices of their products.
Drug manufacturer Amgen has increased the price of its autoimmune disease drug Enbrel twice this year, for a total increase of 9.4 percent. Since acquiring the rights for the drug in 2002, the California-based company had increased Enbrel's price 27 times – bringing its monthly cost to $5,554.96 in 2020. The drug's price swelled by 457 percent between 2002 and 2020.
Chicago resident Kip Burgess, who takes Enbrel for his psoriatic arthritis, said: "No one should have to worry about how they will afford the medications they need to live." He told P4AD that he does not experience any symptoms and can live his life fully when taking Enbrel.
GSK also increased the price of its lupus drug Benlysta four times since the pandemic, bringing its monthly price to $4,282. Thanks to 7.4 percent of total price hikes this year, more than $3,500 was added to Benlysta's price tag.
The higher price of Benlysta spelled bad news for Morgantown, West Virginia resident Ashley Suder.
"Without this drug, my immune system attacks my healthy tissue, resulting in painful inflammation that damages my skin, joints, blood vessels and brain," she told PFAD. "I've had to spend my entire paycheck on my medication and, with the price increasing again, I worry about how I'll make ends meet while still affording my drugs."
Pfizer also raised prices for 23 of its prescription drugs in July alone. The New York-based drugmaker already posted record profits in 2021, thanks to its mRNA Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine made in partnership with German company BioNTech. (Related: PLAGUE PROFITS: Pfizer executive admits the company wants to profit off vaccines and will soon raise prices.)
According to a February report from the Guardian, Pfizer made almost $37 billion in sales from the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. Contracts for the vaccine contributed to the firm's $81.3 billion overall revenue for that year. Pfizer's projected revenue this year is between $98 billion and $102 billion.
The leukemia treatment Besponsa was among the drugs included in Pfizer's price hikes. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company increased its price four times that a single vial of Besponsa now retails at $21,056.
"Americans are struggling with record inflation and the continued challenges of [the] pandemic. Yet Big Pharma continues to raise drug prices with no regard for [people's] health and financial well-being," said PFAD Founder David Mitchell. "We must put an end to drug corporations' unfettered ability to dictate prices at the expense of patients."
Mitchell is an apt representative for those campaigning for lower drug prices, as he himself suffers from incurable blood cancer. The drugs he needs to address his condition forces him to shell out more than $900,000 annually.
A report by Russia Today outlined the blatant greed of Big Pharma in a July 20 piece: "The US has the highest-priced healthcare in the world, despite yielding worse health outcomes than any other developed nation." It also pointed out that "the life expectancy of Americans is lower than all of their industrialized peers, even as their doctors are better-paid than doctors in other developed countries."
Visit BigPharmaNews.com for more stories about the greed of drug companies.
Watch California Rep. Katie Porter below rebuking a Big Pharma executive for putting profits over health.
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