The COVID-19 pandemic provides a stark reminder that if any of us are sick, we are all at risk. Because we are all in this together, Americans have taken on the financial risk of investing tens of billions of dollars in development, production, and purchase of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. The creation and dissemination of the COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are wonderful advances from a public health perspective and have resulted in windfall financial gain for pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders. While returns are strong via the stock market, almost half of Americans do not own stock and are not seeing their return on investment. Instead, a record-breaking 900+ drugs enjoyed price hikes in 2021 while America’s families were rationing medicines to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
These unrelenting high prices and price increases are due to a broken and distorted market that incentivizes monopolistic behavior rather than innovation. America’s families are asking for help. Polls have consistently found that roughly 9 in 10 voters want Congress and the President to take action to lower prescription drug prices this year. They have asked over and over again that elected officials act now to live up to campaign promises and heed the urgent call for affordable medicines.