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Cancer drugs in the United States cost more than twice as much as European countries. Find out how Big Pharma uses lobbying, patents, and other dirty tricks to keep drug prices high. And discover how you can shrink your cancer costs to a minimum.
Every year insane drug prices ruin millions of peoples' lives and put them into massive debt. Patients' out-of-pocket costs have risen to unsustainable levels.
Cancer treatments can cost tens of thousands of dollars, even with health insurance. Few households have that sort of cash lying around. Many patients need to alter their spending habits to save money.
Over 30% of patients aged 25 to 54 cut back on groceries or borrowed money, according to a CancerCare survey. About 20% skipped payments on rent, utilities, or their mortgage to afford their medical bills.
Each month, cancer patients between the ages of 25 to 64 spend more than $1,100 out-of-pocket for treatments. Find out why Americans pay more for cancer drugs than any country in the world.
Pharmacologist Andrew Hill analyzed the drug prices in different parts of the world. He looked at the price of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Hill used Indian government data to calculate the cost of pharmaceutical ingredients.
He presented his findings at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna. The United States paid more than double the price than Europe for the same drugs.
In the table below you can see the difference between drug prices. Hill found that Novartis’ leukemia drug Glivec cost $159 to manufacture. But Americans paid $106,000 for the same drug.
Roche’s Tarceva for lung cancer cost $236, against a U.S. price of $79,000, and Novartis’ Tykerb cost $4,000 at a price of $74,000.
In all these cases the U.S. cost was far above that charged in certain western European countries.
Pharmaceutical companies blame the cost of drugs on research and development costs. But they spend more money on marketing than on research. For every dollar used on research, Big Pharma spends $19 on promotions and ads.
In 2013 nine out of 10 big pharmaceutical companies spent more on marketing than on research. The biggest spender, Johnson & Johnson, shelled out $17.5 billion on sales and marketing in 2013. But they only spent $8.2 billion on research.
Likewise, Pfizer spent $11.4 billion on marketing and only $6.6 billion on research and development.
In the top 10, only Roche spent more on research than on sales and marketing. Why do they have to spend so much money on marketing? Well, if you have a useless product you need to use a lot of money to convince people.
Why are cancer drugs so expensive? To understand this, you need first to see how the pharmaceutical industry works.
The drug companies are all about profit and not what’s best for the patients. Drug companies earn more money by treating cancer symptoms than curing cancer. Pharmaceutical companies are also known as Big Pharma.
Big Pharma only cares about profits. They want to make as much money as they can. They don’t care if they bankrupt the nation as long as they make the shareholders happy.
Every treatment makes them more money. If they cure the patients, then they can only profit once and lose a customer. They want to squeeze out every dollar from each patient and whether the patient dies is irrelevant. If they got paid well for the patient, they are happy.
So how much do these companies earn each year?
The pharmaceutical industry generates higher profit margins than any other industry. Some drugs cost upwards of $100,000 for a full course. And when manufacturing costs are a tiny fraction of this, it's not hard to see why.
The big pharmaceutical companies want to get as much money as they can. They are a billion dollar industry.
The largest drug manufacturer in the world is Johnson&Johnson. Their revenue for 2016 was $71.89 billion. Roche was in second place with $50.11 billion and Pfizer in third place with 52.62 billion dollars.
They are all in this business because of the insane profits they generate by stealing money from the public. It doesn’t matter if their drugs are useless. They control the Food And Drug Administration(FDA), the media and can do whatever they want.
Pharmaceutical companies charge up to 600 times more what the medicines cost to make.
There are several reasons why drugs are more expensive in the US. Learn the three strategies Big Pharma uses to sell drugs at insane prices. I will start with patents.
In 1984 the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act happened. It gave pharmaceutical companies exclusive protections for innovating a new drug.
If they brought a new drug to life, they enjoyed patent protection to monopolize the market. Until it expires, the company can use it to exclude competitors. That was the payoff for the high risk and costs of developing new drugs.
Only the pharmaceutical company that holds the patent can manufacture, and market the drug. If other producers try to copy them, they can sue them for license infringement.
Pharmaceutical companies only invest in new drugs with a high chance of profitability and patent protection. They do this to recoup their costs to develop the drug.
The costs include the expenses of the drug candidates that fail to make a profit. The average cost to develop and test a new drug was $800 million in 2003 and $2.6 billion in 2014.
When a pharmaceutical company first develops a new drug, it sells it under a brand name. A doctor can then prescribe it to patients.
In most cases, the drug patent is for around twenty years in the United States. The lifetime of the patent varies between countries and also between drugs. Companies apply for a patent long before the clinical trial to assess a drug’s safety and efficacy.
Therefore they have only 7-12 years to use the license after the FDA approves the drug. Once the patent expires, other manufacturers can sell it. We call these unpatented drugs generic drugs.
In most countries, generic drugs have to be identical to the branded drug. They have to meet the efficacy, safety, and usage of a branded drug. Once the generic drug is on the market, the patent holder no longer has a monopoly.
This encourages competition and results in a significant drop in cost. Pharmaceutical companies don’t like generic drugs because that means that there is competition. Learn the dirty tricks they use to keep generic drugs off the market.
Drug companies use sophisticated strategies to keep generic competitors off the market. Delaying generic drugs for as little as six months means that they can sell their blockbuster drug a little bit longer.
This delay can be worth half a billion dollars. One tactic that Big Pharma uses to delay generic drugs involve petitions to the FDA. They do this by asking the agency to not give the green light to generic versions of a drug.
The FDA denies 80% of these petitions. But the time it takes to respond to these requests delays the entry of the generic drug. The FDA has to answer every petition even if they are ridiculous.
Silly appeals such as demanding that generic pills need to provide info to the FDA can delay a drug. This is stupid because the FDA already requires that of generic medicines.
When drug companies challenge a generic drug in court, the FDA has to freeze its approval for 30 months. The only exception to that is if they settle things in court earlier than that.
Brand name drugmakers often sue generic versions to keep them off the market. Look at Bristol-Myers Squibb. The company used court cases to delay generic versions of cancer drugs like Taxol and BuSpar.
It took years before a generic Taxol reached the market. Bristol earned hundreds of millions of dollars by keeping the copycats at bay. This hurt generic drugmakers like Ivax and Watson Pharmaceuticals.
Another tactic to block a generic drug is by not providing samples of the brand-name drug.Thus generic drug makers are unable to show the FDA that the generic pill is equal to the branded drug.
Drugs companies can also refuse to cooperate with generic companies on safety plans. They are also known to pay generic drug producers to delay their drugs.
The money the generic prescription companies receive may exceed the profits that they get if they sell the drug. For example, let's say that the annual sales of the brand-name drug in the United States are one billion dollars.
The generic company wishes to enter the market and sell the generic drug at 10% of the patented drug price. Their profit per year would be $100 million. The brand-name company now pays the generic company a $100 million not to enter the market.
They can now still generate $1 billion in revenues over the next year. Both companies profit by this scheme, and the consumers have to pay the price.
This leads to higher taxes to cover soaring Medicare costs. Other effects include higher insurance premiums, and financial ruining.
Drug companies lose a lot of money when drugs become generic. That is the reason why they always try to create a new drug which replaces the old one. They often make minor changes to the previous drug and get approved for a new drug by the FDA.
In this way, they can sell their drugs at inflated prices and the whole process repeats itself.
The second way Big Pharma can overcharge customers is by using lobbying. Find out how they influence legislators to change the laws to their liking.
Big Pharma spent $3.6 billion on lobbying activities from 1998 through 2017, according to OpenSecrets.org. This is more than any other industry. By doing so, they gain favorable treatment from legislators.
One such victory was the Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. This act prevented the government from negotiating prices with drug companies covered by Medicare.
Medicare is a national social insurance program administered by the U.S. government. It provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older. It also provides health insurance to younger people with some disability.
Both groups pay into the system with a payroll tax.In 2015, Medicare provided health insurance to over 55 million inhabitants. On average, Medicare covers about half of the healthcare charges for those enrolled.
The enrollees must then cover their remaining costs. They do this by either paying for other insurance or out-of-pocket. Medicare shelled out nearly $70 billion on prescription drugs in 2013.
U.S. law allows drug companies to set the prices for drugs. This protects them from free-market competition.
By lobbying our nation’s legislators, they influence every American. Not only does it affect health insurance premiums, but also the Medicare system.
In many European countries, public healthcare is the norm. The governments often determine what drugs they will cover and at what price. Countries sometimes refuse to cover medications they believe are too step in price.
Any private insurers in those nations then follow the government negotiated rate. As a result, medications can be half the price in Europe.
Other ways Big Pharma influences society is by infiltrating medical schools.
Teachers, department chairs, and deans often sit on drug companies’ boards of directors. This influences educational content. Money from Big Pharma supports programs within many medical schools and teaching hospitals.
Big Pharma also employs doctors, researchers, and institutions.They use ghostwriters to write positive articles. After that, they pay physicians to attach their names to the studies.
The goal is to publish the article in a reputable medical journal.
Drug and medical device makers spend lavishly on doctors. Company reps talk to doctors to promote the company’s drugs.
The U.S. has one pharmaceutical sales representative for every five office-based physicians. They cover meals, travel, seminars, and conventions that sometimes look more like vacations.
Doctors paid by drug reps tend to subscribe more drugs at the cost of the patient.
On www.openpaymentsdata.cms.gov you can see how much payments your doctor receives. You can look at how much they get for research activities, gifts, speaking fees, meals, or traveling.
So how much is your doctor making?
Another way drug companies regulate the market is by controlling the FDA.
The FDA aims to regulate the safety of the drugs and other products on the market. But the FDA is a useless agency because they take orders from Big Pharma.
Big Pharma has people on the board of directors and has a huge say in the decisions they make. It is not a matter of if FDA will accept their drugs but when. FDA and Big Pharma are in bed with each other.
FDA will not protect you. Drug manufacturers do their own drug testing and not the FDA. When you give them the control of the testing, they can monitor and rig the results.
Big pharma also uses the FDA to ban natural remedies.
FDA bans natural remedies and allows dangerous cancer drugs. They seldom punish drug companies even if their drugs have horrible side effects.
Instead, they go after alternative medicines and supplements that are too successful. Laetril or B17, for example, is illegal to sell in the US. Vitamin B17 exists in the pits of apricots and other fruits.
In the 1970s, natural doctors used vitamin B17 as a treatment for cancer. Remedies like b17 is a threat to the pharmaceutical industry. Why, because these treatments can cure people at a fraction of the price.
FDA banned it based on the lack of evidence of this chemical compound. That is the reason why these remedies become banned after a while. You can only sell solutions that the FDA approves.
But only pharmaceutical companies can afford these trials. Even if alternative doctors could pay for the tests, the FDA would reject them anyway. It doesn't matter if the supplements show amazing results. They will find a way to discredit it anyway.
Big Pharma is not interested in natural remedies because you can't patent them. That is the reason they spread negative propaganda about natural cures. If they could patent them, then they would register every solution and vegetable on the market.
Why would you buy useless drugs if you could buy a more effective supplement at a fraction of the price? They want everyone to believe that their treatments are the only ones that work so you can be their slave.
The only reason they do this is to get rid of the competition and protect their monopoly. That is the reason why they chase away alternative doctors and badmouth them.
After reading this blog post, you might realize that Big Pharma sounds like the mafia. And yes, that is because they are. Drug dealers on the street are no different from pharmaceutical companies.
Selling drugs on the street will get you in jail while marketing prescription drugs will not. The only difference is that one group wears white coats and the other doesn't. Don't fall for their scams. Start treating cancer with natural remedies and you will save lots of money.
Every year insane drug prices ruin millions of peoples lives and put them in massive debt.
The drug companies are all about profit and not what’s best for the patients. Drug companies earn more money by treating cancer symptoms than curing cancer.
Drug companies use sophisticated strategies to keep generic competitors off the market.
Big Pharma manipulates patents laws to protect profits.
Drug companies spent $3.6 billion on lobbying activities from 1998 through 2017.
Big Pharma employs doctors, researchers, and institutions to spread their propaganda.
FDA and Big Pharma are in bed with each other.
Big Pharma is not interested in natural remedies because you can't patent them. That is the reason they try remove them from the market.
1. Eat a whole food plant-based diet
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If you want lower your cancer drugs costs, you need to understand that drugs won't cure cancer.
A better way deal with cancer is to eat a whole food plant-based diet. Our body thrives on plants and animal products lead to a compromised immune system.
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Simon Persson is a holistic cancer blogger with a passion for natural health cures. When he is not blogging, he enjoys nature, cooking and learning about the latest gadgets on the market.
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