- 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.201