Drug pricing is a deadly national scandal | Editorial

“Your money or your life!” was a laugh line in a radio skit by the comedian Jack Benny, who pretended to be a skinflint. To the robber’s demand, Benny replied, after a long pause, “I’m thinking. I’m thinking.”

Today, your money or your life is a deadly serious dilemma that confronts Americans not so often at the point of a gun as at the pharmacy counter.

As many as one in every five Americans are trying to cope with Big Pharma’s morally indefensible pricing schemes by leaving prescriptions unfilled, skipping doses or splitting pills. Such desperate economies, coupled with unwitting failure to take medications properly, are said to contribute to some 125,000 deaths every year and as much as $289 billion in additional health costs.

These staggering statistics are found in a Florida House of Representatives staff report on legislation (HB 19) that incorporates Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal to let state agencies and private pharmacies import less expensive drugs from Canada and elsewhere.

The Chamber claims that this “would import alarming policies from foreign governments with socialized health care systems … block access to life-saving drugs for America’s seniors, inhibit the research and development necessary to discover new treatments, and threaten our nation’s free-market health care system, currently one of the best of the world.”

That is, of course, Big Pharma’s hysterical, nonsensical and shopworn mantra against anything that might eat into its profits. In this case, the fear is that what might work for Medicare would work for everyone. In that happy event, people would no longer have to die for lack of medicines they can’t afford.

Editorials are the opinion of the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board and written by one of its members or a designee. The Editorial Board consists of Editorial Page Editor Rosemary O’Hara, Sergio Bustos and Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson.