Americans spend more on healthcare than education and entertainment.

Scientific American has published an article examining the problem of high prescription drug costs as well as proposed solutions. Some salient stats referenced in the article:

  • American households annually spend more money on health care than on education and entertainment combined.
  • American households spend more than $200 billion on prescription drugs each year.
  • 45 million Americans, including eight million children, do not have health insurance.
  • Free drug samples are generally given to those who already have health insurance — not to those who need them most.
  • 41 percent of Americans report at least some difficulty in paying drug bills.
  • 30 percent of Americans reported that they did not fill prescriptions because of the cost.

Here are a couple of the overall conclusions of experts cited in the story:

Stephanie Woolhandler, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says that free samples and industry assistance programs — which Big Pharma touts as solutions to high costs — are “mostly a way of diffusing much of the anger Americans feel about drug prices … It’s not an overall solution to this problem.”

Cheryl Matheis, a senior vice president for health strategy at AARP, says, “Pharmaceutical companies need to change their business model [and] we need to have a system where everybody is covered, whether it’s private insurance coverage or government-sponsored coverage.”

Stephanie and Cheryl are right on. Big Pharma is dead wrong. You know it, and I know it. Make sure your Congressperson knows it, too.

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Comments (2)

Of course, I don’t really think anything in this aricle surprises any of us. I knew that the amount paid for prescription drugs was high. I didn’t realize just how high in comparison to some other things. Most definitely we need to let those we elected into office know that we are tired of this and, if they want to continue receiving the benefits they have by being in office, they need to be seeing that we have benefits also.

When you look at the comparison between what is spent on prescription drugs and education and entertainment, it is staggering. When you consider the cost of educating our children without figuring in the cost of entertainment it is unbelievable that prescription drug costs are so high.

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