Removing the Profit From Our Pills: The Case for a Public Pharma System | Common Dreams Views
Any American who has paid the price of a patent-protected medicine knows the core flaw in the U.S. prescription drug system: our elected leaders have handed over control to profit-hungry corporations. And for-profit corporations gonna for-profit, as the kids would say. That is especially true when the corporations are gifted with long-term monopolies on life-essential medicines, which gives them the leverage to set take-it-or-leave it prices that net billions in revenue extracted from all of us.
It doesn’t have to be this way. That is the message of an exciting new report, Medicine for All: The Case for a Public Option in the Pharmaceutical Industry, by Dana Brown, director of the Next System Project of the organization Democracy Collaborative. “We can displace corporate power over our health and lives by moving toward a democratic, publicly-owned pharmaceutical sector, designed to respond to public health needs and deliver better health outcomes at lower costs,” Brown writes.
Brown’s argument builds on our long legacy of ensuring that vital safety and health services are entrusted to institutions that are publicly accountable and publicly funded. For generations, we have been protected by policing and firefighting services that are public, not for-profit corporations that turn away residents in danger when they cannot fork over cash-on-demand. We make sure our primary and secondary schools, our critical infrastructure, and our court and election systems are accessible to all, without the price barriers that for-profit corporations naturally create. We should do the same with essential medicines.