The rising costs of pharmaceuticals is an issue that everyone agrees is a problem, even if the debate over the solution creates division. The reason behind the rising costs can usually be attributed to high demand, captive customer bases, and monopolies. These reasons are all temporary, and over time disappear as patents expire, supply increases, and other medical advances reduce the customer base for that particular drug. There is some different justification for high costs, however, as preventative medicine also creates a far more affordable solution than treating an illness that has already taken hold. The epipen controversy is a perfect example, where having an epipen on hand can not only save a life, but also prevent an extremely costly hospital visit. If a drug can delay a disease like Alzheimer, the reduction in care costs vast outweigh any cost the drug could reasonably be. Without the goal of high profit margins, investors are likely to shy away from the medical field, which in turn would reduce the number of breakthrough medications developed. While taking advantage of ill individuals to make a profit should be avoided, profit is a necessary part of attracting the investment that makes it possible in the first place. The truth of the matter is that “Big Pharma” cannot be solely responsible for the increase in prices, but at the same time, many of the solutions are squarely in the hands of these companies.
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Is Big Pharma to Blame for Soaring Health Costs?