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Prescription drugs being obscenely expensive in America is certainly nothing new. Many people who are on the lee side of 60 will have known drugs to be way too pricey for the entirety of their adult lives. This is something that’s problematic for hundreds of thousands of people in the USA. Obviously, it’s an even more pressing concern for people who rely on certain medications to keep them alive. There’s been no shortage of stories in the news about people foregoing necessities like food or running up nasty debts in order to afford their medication.
Most of these people who experience these struggles will be cautiously optimistic about any news that suggests more affordable prescription drugs may become available in America. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say very, very cautiously optimistic – as many of them have had their hopes up before. It’s true that these days the bulk of talk in the news regarding meds has been how the USA has snatched up the entirety of the world’s supply of Remdesivir as a potentially effective treatment for COVID-19.
While that’s especially timely, and despite making no mention of the fact that Remdesivir may not be as effective for treating COVID-19 as the Trump Administration believes it may be, the real news is elsewhere. This past Friday President Donald Trump announced four proposed executive orders designed to lower prices for drugs in America. If you’re a diabetic struggling to afford insulin or someone who needs Warfarin to lower your blood pressure after receiving a pacemaker or any other of hundreds of other scenarios – be optimistic, but be Cautiously optimistic. Yes, we’re capping cautiously on purpose there.
Whether these orders come to be realized or not – and whether they prove to be effective – remains to be seen. The pharmaceutical industry in America relies on a number of well-entrenched mechanisms that keep it nicely profitable for manufacturers, shareholders, and the executives behind them. Now genuine good may come of this, but you’ll have to excuse the very legit skepticism of many people across the country who’ve been dealing with high prices on drugs for as long as they can remember.
Alright, let’s get to what the POTUS is proposing.
More Meds From Canada
As mentioned, the President has recently tabled four executive orders. The first of them is made to better pave the pathway for Americans to order medication online from Canada. This has been a way to get better prices on medications for some time now, but for many people there’s been plenty of roadblocks that make it quite a headache to actually pay less for prescription drugs.
Now considering the existence of the NAFTA agreement between all 3 North American countries, it might beg the question why have these roadblocks been in place? It is explicitly related to the fact that the pharma industry in America is geared the same way nearly all of them are. They charge what the market will bear to generate profit as much as possible. That’s not an inherently bad thing right across the board. However, when it results in people foregoing eating or wondering how they pay rent and purchase their needed medication – it’s pretty bad.
Now of course the pharma industry is not happy with any of this. They replied with “these moves a reckless distraction that impedes our ability to respond to the current pandemic – and those we might face in the future.”
Now if that’s not some first-rate timeliness and deflection all wrapped into one, we don’t know what is!
A ‘Bite’ Out of Middlemen
Protectionism in the pharmaceutical industry exists for many reasons. The way intermediaries between producer and consumer add to the high cost of drugs in America is very well established. The 2nd of the four executive orders announced by President Trump on Friday is designed to take the discounts currently enjoyed by these middlemen and seeing to it they’re channeled to end consumers instead. You can be certain a LOT of the pushback that’s coming from the industry will come from those on these rungs of the ladder.
But really – shouldn’t an arrangement more like this be the way it should have been from the first place? Not suggesting someone shouldn’t be able to make a buck, but making it on the backs of others who have no choice to spend theirs when they can’t afford to isn’t right.
Big Benefits for Diabetics
The third of these four orders from President Trump intends to create lower prices on insulin in America. The appropriateness of this needs no explanation of course. There are thousands of diabetics in America who struggle to afford the medication they require. Unchecked blood glucose levels can lead to major health problems, and even life-threatening ones. Not surprising to learn then struggling to afford drugs has led some diabetics to try to move to Canada for access to more affordable insulin.
If there’s only one of these orders that really gains traction, let’s hope this is the one. It really is the most urgent one considering how many Americans it affects.
The fourth and final of President Trump’s orders from last week requires the US Medicare system to purchase drugs at prices matching what other countries pay for them as part of their national healthcare provision program. While this has the potential to be very beneficial, it is important to remember that any such move will still do nothing to prevent the Medicare system from charging higher premiums in response to this.
Now some believe the bulk of this is in pandering to a voter base at the timeliest o