Cut expensive drug costs now

Daily Editorial Board

The arrest of former Turing Pharmaceuticals executive Martin Shkreli in December brought to light the serious overpricing of drugs by pharmaceutical companies.
 
 
As Turing’s CEO, Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim — a drug known to help prevent malaria — by 5,000 percent. Although his arrest was for unrelated charges of fraud, many people have expressed their belief that Shkreli deserved punishment for his pricing practices, too.  
 
 
Over the past several years, the market price for specialty drugs that treat rare conditions has soared. This has serious implications. For instance, Hepatitis C is a disease which, if left untreated, can cause liver damage, cancer and even death. The medication Sovaldi has been shown to cure 90 percent of patients affected with this disease.
 
 
Although more than 3 million people suffer from Hepatitis C, Sovaldi’s 12-week regimen costs $84,000.
 
 
People can’t control when they fall sick, yet corporations treat many medications as luxuries. The FDA should be granted more authority to help reduce the cost of treatment for diseases that affect millions of people. 
 
 
Furthermore, Congress should require fuller transparency of pharmaceutical companies’ research costs and expenditures. This would help people truly determine whether corporations are hyper-inflating the costs of their drugs. 
 
 
Article 25 of the Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to medical care, and Article 27 guarantees the right of people to benefit from scientific progress. However, high prices for essential drugs prevent those rights from protecting American citizens as well as they deserve.