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The Greed of Big Pharma

The Greed of Big aspen-holdings.jpgPharma

Mike Carbonara

For a long time now, pharmaceutical companies have had great control over the prices and availability of their products. But has it gone too far? Aspen Pharmacare, a South African pharmaceutical company, has begun using loopholes and aggressive tactics to raise their prices of their drugs. The company has raised the price of five cancer drugs by as much as 4000% in Europe. They were able to do this by exploiting a loophole, which allowed drug companies to change the price of drugs if they are rebranded. This was intended to allow other companies to create cheaper versions of the drug to undercut the price.

While raising the price of drugs is nothing new, the tactics adopted by Aspen Pharmacare go beyond unethical. In negotiations with Spain over the price of their medicine, they threatened to cut off the supply of life saving cancer drugs. The only way they would continue selling is if the government allowed them to raise the price by 4000%. Perhaps worst of all, leaked emails from the company show that they planned to destroy massive stocks of this life saving medication in order to raise the price.

This is just one example of the many unethical practices recently taken by drug companies to raise the price of their drugs. While it is true that consumers themselves do not pay the full price for these drugs, as many countries have healthcare systems in place, there is a huge potential for long run consequences. If governments and health care agencies cannot afford to pay the price, then access to these drugs will become severely restricted, as they will become no longer covered. These unethical practices need to be fought by government intervention, as consumers do not have the power to choose other products when their life is on the line. When drug companies are plotting to destroy life saving medicine to increase profits, we can know for certain that this has gone too far.

Forster, Katie. “Pharmaceutical Giant ‘plotted to Destroy Cancer Drugs to Drive Prices up 4,000%’.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 15 Apr. 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.

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