Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Press Release

Creation of a Crisis: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Chooses Profit Over People

Citizen Action of Wisconsin joins national release of report revealing how drug company profits and CEO pay put lives at risk

By - Feb 21st, 2019 02:05 pm

Milwaukee: Citizen Action of Wisconsin is joining the Roosevelt Institute and People’s Action in releasing “Profit Over Patients: How the Rules of our Economy Encourage the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Extractive Behavior.”

The report, written by Roosevelt Fellow Katy Milani and Advocacy and Policy Associate Devin Duffy, explains how a country that comprises less than 5 percent of the world’s population represents between 30 and 40 percent of the global market for prescription drugs. It outlines how the pharmaceutical industry creates wealth for for shareholders at the expense of patients.

“The industry has been allowed to push a false narrative that claims high drug prices are necessary to fund the research and development of cutting-edge medicine,” said Milani. “In reality, these profits fund an industry that exploits a broken system to avoid true competition and puts shareholder wealth first.”

In Wisconsin, we know all too well the devastating impact exorbitant drug pricing has on people’s lives. As Governor Tony Evers said in October: “We shouldn’t have to use GoFundMe to pay for medical bills, and we shouldn’t walk into our pharmacies wondering whether a prescription is going to cost an arm or a leg or both,” said Evers. “The bottom line is that too often health care isn’t affordable in Wisconsin, in large part due to the high price of prescription drugs. It’s time for us to change that.”

In the suburb of Greendale, Dennis Flink, a printing professional, had his life disrupted by a prescription drug corporation dramatically raising the cost of his his blood pressure medication to pad profits. He had been taking that particular medication for 6 years successfully with no side effects. As he struggled to find a replacement he suffered unbearable side effects that interfered with his work and personal life. At one point, the effects became so disruptive to him, he stopped all his medications to seek relief, which could have led to a life threatening situation.

The report unveils important data for everyone in Wisconsin to understand about how their prescription medicines became so expensive, and undoes lies and myths the industry has allowed to flourish,

“This important report provides compelling evidence that the system is rigged to maximize corporate profits at the expense of patients,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “There is a pressing need for Wisconsin to reverse 8 years of inaction by reining in rampant price gouging by prescription drug corporations. The only way to make vital medications affordable is for our democracy to intervene through bold federal and state action. ”

Everyone should have access to medicines they need to stay alive. The first step is to end windfall profits for billionaires.

“It’s appalling that people in the U.S. pay up to six times more for brand-name prescription drugs than their global counterparts,” said Connie Huynh, director of the People’s Action Health Care for All campaign. “Health care is a human right, it shouldn’t be a profiteering scheme.”

About Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is a statewide membership organization which is a leading voice for guaranteeing quality affordable healthcare for everyone in Wisconsin. Citizen Action members are organizing across the state to break down the rural/suburban/urban divide and unite people to create a just a sustainable Wisconsin.

About People’s Action
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is the state affiliate of People’s Action, which is one of the largest and most influential organizing networks in the country. We are a progressive, multiracial, working-class coalition of more than a million people and 48 member organizations in 30 states. We fight for racial, gender, climate and economic justice.

About the Roosevelt Institute
The Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank, promotes progressive policy reforms that would redefine the American economy and our democracy. With a focus on curbing corporate power and reclaiming public power, Roosevelt is helping people understand that the economy is shaped by choices—via institutions and the rules that structure markets—while also exploring the economics of race and gender and the changing 21st-century economy. Roosevelt is armed with a bold vision for the future, working to move the country toward a new economic and political system: one built by many for the good of all.

Read the full report here

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