Why is our health insurance and our prescriptions so expensive? It all starts the greed of the big pharmaceutical companies. Generic alternatives to these expensive drugs need to be more quickly available, but the drug approval process and the length of the patents are preventing us from getting a generic alternative. Poorer people have no choice and can’t get these drugs, and other people are making long trips to Canada or Mexico where generic drugs are more available. But what we really need is to shorten the length of our drug patents here at home.
We’ve all seen it unravel right before our very eyes. We have seen the likes of Martin Shkreli raise the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. And even more bothersome, we have seen the price of the life saving Epipen go from $100 for a 2 Pack to over $600. This has gone way too far, and we are taking notice. It’s all about money. Pharmaceutical companies mostly care about its shareholders and its profits. And it’s time for us to hit back with new patent reform. If we are going to stop our drug prices from skyrocketing, then we need to shorten the length of our drug patents.
Right now, drug patents protect the profits for drug companies for 20 years before a generic copycat can be made. What we need is our generic drugs to be more readily available, and a lot sooner than 20 years. But the big pharmaceutical companies often turn to litigation once their patents expire. Even after a patent expires, the holders of the patents will challenge a generic drug in court, causing the FDA to automatically delay it’s approval for 30 months. The consumers need to stop this loop hole of a delay as well.
Sure – I get it. Drug research is expensive. And pharmaceutical companies should reap the rewards for their hard work. But what happened with the Epipen price hike makes everyone angry. The company who sells Epipen has been grilled by both Republicans and Democrats. Personally, I am delighted they are angry. They should be. But our politicians should be doing more than just yelling at these drug makers. They have it in their power to help make our drugs less expensive. And this is precisely one of the reasons we voted them into office.