9th Reading Forum

Prescription drug prices article response

Please post your response as a reply to this discussion. Use my model as a response for content and length. Your response should be posted by class time on Thursday.

Prompts to help guide your response:

*This article is an example of what we call "competing claims." On the one hand, pharmaceutical companies claim they need to charge so much in order to pay for the development of new drugs. On the other hand, the cost of those drugs is beyond the means of many people, and this is compromising the health of our nation.

1) Which of these claims do you feel is stronger, and why? (This would be a good spot to work in some direct quotation to support your claim.)

2) Respond to the final paragraph about the "dark side of clinical trials."

To receive credit, you must include the following:

1) At least one direct quotation from the article itself to support a point you are making, and

2) A direct reference to someone else's response to show you are continuing the discussion online.

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  • Health care and the costs associated with it is one of the toughest issues facing our nation. Beyond the larger question of whether health care should be provided as a service like public education lies the question of how much the free market should be allowed to dictate the cost of prescription drugs. In particular, drugs that may save or extend people's lives. I think the claims presented in the article make a stronger case for limits on such costs.

    The drug companies claim the costs of research and development make high prices for those drugs that do reach market necessary. But as the article points out, "nine of the 10 top drugmakers spend more on their TV ads and other marketing campaigns than they do on researching drugs." This evidence convinces me that the drug companies are more interested in making a profit than in actually improving our health. Naysayers would claim that making profits is exactly what companies are created to do, and that claim does have merit. And for most products, consumers faced with high prices can simply not purchase the product. But when there is only one drug that works for your medical condition, you do not have a choice--you (and your insurance company) must pay. This is part of why health care costs in the United States are so much higher than in most other developed countries.

    The article's final paragraph reveals the "dark side" of clinical trials. When profit and marketing supplant safety, consumers bear the consequences. Yes, Johnson & Johnson was caught and fined, but the fine only represents about 25% of the profits from JUST the drug whose that caused the side effects. If the company is only interested in profits, how will such a fine dissuade them from doing similar coverups in the future? Even after paying the fine, Johnson & Johnson still made $24 billion dollars from sales of Risperdal. Companies that coverup potentially dangerous side effects should be fined the entire amount of profits they received from the drug. That might make them conduct their trials more ethically.
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