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Effects of the Lack of Government Influence and Supervision in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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Many dangers of prescription drugs are a result of the lack of government influence and supervision in the pharmaceutical industry. It is a business that has free reign to run itself (Perkins). This creates many problems for American consumers. One of these problems is the outrageously high prices of pharmaceuticals. They are nearly impossible to afford for those without insurance, or with insurance that doesn’t cover prescription drugs. Studies performed by the Kaiser Family Foundation show that, “private employer-sponsored health-insurance premiums rose 13.9% this year, the most since 1989”, a trend that is expected to continue for many years to come (Coy). The rising costs of health insurance along with the already high prices of prescription drugs make pharmaceuticals difficult for many Americans to afford. Drug companies justify high prices by saying how expensive the research and development of a new drug is. For once, this is a truthful statement by these companies. Research and development is a long and a costly process. However, drug companies are much less involved in the research and development than they would have us believe. Big drug companies actually contribute very little to the research and development of a new drug. Marcia Angell speaks on the research and development process in her book on drug companies saying, “Contrary to industry propaganda, it is almost always carried out at Universities or government research labs, either in this country or abroad.” (21-22). Professors and students in universities across the world conduct the research and develop new drugs for drug companies. Every year drug companies make huge profits providing little funding towards research and development, while their research is bei... ... middle of paper ... ...bout the company’s new asthma drug called Advair, which was nothing more than a combination of two of the company’s older medicines.” No changes were made to either drug; they were only combined and marketed with a fresh name as a new drug (Peterson 17). A pill’s color is also used as a marketing tool in an attempt to give pills a personality. IMS Health consultants said, “Pink is perceived as calming, and may be suitable for heart drugs or tranquilizers, while bold colors such as red suggest rapid action and stimulation, and may therefore be appropriate for a painkiller or antidepressant.” The same marketing tool Coca-Cola used with the color red, where the bright color represented the “crisp” taste of Coca-Cola. More focus is on the color of the pill than on what the pill does or what it treats in companies such as AstraZeneca’s marketing campaigns (Peterson 18).
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