Why Are Most Cancer Drugs so Expensive and so Ineffective?

Monopoly is defined as: “a situation in which a single company or group owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service. By definition, monopoly is characterized by an absence of competition, which often results in high prices and inferior products.”

The pharmaceutical industry is the most powerful monopoly in the United States. Not surprisingly, it delivers mostly second-rate products at ridiculously inflated prices. The results are unprecedented profits and bad patient care.

Pharma’s monopoly power is exerted in a variety of interacting domains.

Political Monoply: Big Pharma is a dominant player in Washington power politics. Examples: 1) it lobbied successfully for the ‘right’ to advertise directly-to-consumers — banned in other developed nations because it leads to wildly excessive use of drugs; 2) it controls the regulatory agency meant to control it — in 2008, the Food and Drug Administration approved only 33% of new drug applications; this year, it has approved 96%, and 3) Congress has denied the U.S. government’s Medicare program, the world’s largest drug purchaser, the right to negotiate drug prices.

Price Monopoly: Drug prices in the U.S. are dramatically higher than anywhere else in the world. The sky seems to be the limit as drug prices and profits grow astronomically. The absence of competition is arranged in a number of ways. Patent lives are extended by creating phoney ‘me-too’ versions of existing drugs. Generic companies are bought up, so that generic prices have also become exhorbitant. Cost is not allowed as a consideration in drug approvals. And buyers are forced to pay, without negotiation, prices that bear no relationship to value.

Monopoly of lnformation and Fear: Drug companies are given the right to test their own products, but not given the responsibility to open their data for —> Read More