A national campaign to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for what it calls out-of-control drug prices was launched Tuesday in Florida. The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) charges the drug companies with creating monopolies by blocking competition and allowing them to charge whatever prices they want for medicines.
CSRxP points to last year’s case involving Mylan Pharmaceuticals which produces the EpiPen. Mylan was heavily criticized for increasing the price of the EpiPen by 500 percent after it acquired the device that is used to treat severe allergic reactions. CSRxP also singled out Marathon Pharmaceuticals for setting the price of a drug to treat muscular dystrophy at $89,000, when the same drug can be purchased overseas for a $1000 a year
“Out-of-control prescription drug prices hurt every American. From the patients who need the medications and the consumers who pay higher and higher healthcare costs, to the businesses that are forced to choose between providing health benefits and creating new jobs, and the hardworking taxpayers who foot the bill for hundreds of billions of dollars every year,” said John Rother, Executive Director of CSRxP.
CSRxP accuses the pharmaceutical companies of price gouging and today unveiled an advertising campaign called “PriceGougi$ol” (yes, you read that right – it’s a clever play on words – “price-gouge-us-all” – meant to look and sound like one of those drug ads on television). The video (embedded below) is intended to draw attention to what critics call the “hypocrisy” of the drug companies for claiming that high drug prices help fund research and development into new drugs. CSRxP rebukes that argument and claims that 9 out of the nation’s 10 top drug companies spend more on advertising then they do R&D. The advertising campaign began Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to target members of Congress.
A poll commissioned by CSRxP found that 74% of the nation’s voters blame the pharmaceutical companies for the high price of prescription drugs.
“We need real solutions now,” said Rother. “ Let’s work together to deliver market-based solutions that increase competition, create more choice, and ensure that open and honest prices are driven by the value that they bring to patients.”
The public awareness campaign is being called an “on-the-ground, grassroots initiative” that will help medical staff, business leaders and patients who are feeling the brunt of high prescription drug prices to tell their stories to local media across the country..
The coalition of groups says it will work with members of Congress in the weeks ahead as they address proposals aimed at curbing the high price of pharmaceuticals.
Brian Burgess contributed to this report.