Cost of living

Many Americans can’t afford the increase in the prices of medications


Photo courtesy of American Hospital Association

As shown in the graphic, drug prices are increased and negative effects are taking place.

Logan Berggren, Staff Reporter

A hundred and fourteen million Americans around the country use prescription drugs. These people rely on bottles filled with life saving drugs. In today’s age, the costs are increasing rapidly, shutting out the access to medication to multiple people in need. 

US NEWS cites a National Health Expenditure study where they found that “We [The US] spent $333 billion in 2017, up from $236 billion in 2007 [on prescription drugs].” The spending on drugs has increased about $100 billion dollars over the past couple years. Prescription drug companies only have profit in their mind and continue to raise their prices closing the window for people who need medications for serious illness. 

While pharmaceutical companies use a fraction of the profits for the innovation of better drugs, most of the innovating is on already established drugs. According to The Washington Post, in 2018 only 4% of new products were designed to treat new diseases, 78% of patents approved correspond with products already on the pharmaceutical market. These companies are creating a false image that most of the money earned is used for better medications, but the money is only fueling greed. The pharmaceutical industry is becoming corrupt and will continue to raise prices until only the elite can afford to pay. 

The inflated prices are prompting people in need for medications to take dangerous avenues to stay alive. Sick patients are getting the drugs they need off the black market or other illegal sellers. People are buying their medications from dangerous sellers because they cannot afford to pay the high prices pharmacies offer, these risky sources are most likely selling harmful counterfeit alternatives. According to NBC in 2017, it was found that people are swapping pharmaceuticals on Facebook marketplaces because of high prices. The article states how they have no other option due to affordability. People turn to these dangerous sources because medications isn’t a want, it’s a need.

The black market isn’t the only risk people are willing to take to try to stay alive. Patients are also skipping doses or refills of their medications because they can’t afford to keep paying. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) study found that one third of Americans cannot afford their medications and take their prescribed medications differently to avoid the high costs. Multiple people around the country are skipping their recommended treatments to circumvent the costly medications and putting their lives at risk. 

People are searching for any type of alternative that is cheaper. This is causing people to take life threatening counterfeit drugs or even skip their doses to avoid going back and paying too much. This is outrageous since the costs are so high that people are forced to search for other ways to stay alive. The government should step in and implement price limits on the pharmaceutical industry. This would control the high prices allowing more access and ends the corruption. 

The pharmaceutical companies care about profits while those prescribed care more about their quality of living and affordable prices. It’s hard to see that basically a necessity is seized from the hands that need it and I find it wrong that corrupt companies are the cause.