Fourteen drug manufacturers across the US have been grilled by members of Congress over the price hikes of over-the-counter drugs in the past 18 months, and some senators came up with the picture that common greed in the pharmaceutical industry is causing the drug manufacturers to constantly increase the price of generic drugs without restraints.
According to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, “Drug companies have seen the opportunity to make a whole lot of money and they are seizing that opportunity. This is greed at work in the pharmaceutical industry”.
The senators came to this conclusion when preliminary investigations reveal that the average prices of over 1,200 OTC drugs increased by more than 400% between July 2013 and July 2014. And this trend has resulted into one expected effect: most Americans that need prescription drugs to deal with medical health conditions can’t afford it anymore; in fact, one in four Americans can’t buy these drugs anymore.
While a list of over 1,200 generic drugs indicate that their prices have gone up beyond reasonable reasons within the past 18 months, specific examples show that two tablets of albuterol sulfate in October 2013 cost $11, but it is now priced at $434 – and this is an essential drug for asthmatic patients. A bottle of the antibiotic drug doxycycline hyclate was sold for $20 in October 2013, but now sells for $1,849.
Since this drug price hike is attracting wide national concerns, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings on Thursday started an investigation into this problem, and the Senate subcommittee on primary health and aging had called in a hearing on the matter the same day.