Why pharma’s patents are a drug on the market
Senator Bernie Sanders proposes a major reform of the way we pay for prescription drugs and fund research. He’s patently right
Dean Baker guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 31 May 2011 16.27 BST

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders during his filibuster speech, on 10 December 2010, against the proposed extension of Bush-era tax cuts and other measures agreed by President Obama with congressional Republicans. Photograph: Guardian screeengrab from C-Span coverage

Drugs are cheap. There are few drugs that would sell for more than $5-$10 a prescription in a free market. However, many drugs in the United States sell for hundreds of dollars per prescription and, sometimes, several thousand dollars per prescription. There is a simple reason for this fact: government-granted patent monopolies.

The government gives patent monopolies to provide an incentive for drug companies to carry through research. This is an incredibly backward and inefficient way to pay for research. It leaves us paying huge amounts of money for cheap drugs. It also often leads to bad medicine.

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One Comment to “We could all easily afford prescription drugs, if we got rid of Big Pharma’s patent monopolies”

  • I have 13 meds that total almost $3,000 per month without insurance. One in particular is $500, Pharmaceutical companies are crooks! They sell the same meds to other countries for one-third the price, sometimes less. But, in their own country, they gouge the consumer. And they are the biggest proponents of health-care related tort reform. Sure, charge an arm and a leg, then kill us with their experimental drugs and no one should be allowed to sue for damages, all the while saying that tort reform will lower costs. Believe that and I have some left-over neurontin (that almost killed me!) that I might be able to interest you in.
    Just in case the government is monitoring your site, Mark, the neurontin is NOT for sale. Wouldn’t do that to anyone!

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