By Ethan Rome, Executive Director, Health Care for America Now
Here's an outrage that must be changed: Big Pharma has been systematically price-gouging the Medicare program for seniors and people with disabilities -- and raking in billions in excessive profits. The 11 largest global drug companies made an astonishing $711 billion in profits over the 10 years ending in 2012, and they got a turbo-charged boost when the Medicare Part D prescription drug program started in 2006, according to an analysis of corporate filings by Health Care for America Now (HCAN). ??The drug companies hold the power to charge America's consumers whatever they want. Worse, Medicare -- the nation's largest purchaser of drugs -- is prohibited by law from seeking better prices. The result of this shortsighted policy is dramatic. In 2006, the first year of Medicare's prescription drug program, the combined profits of the largest drug companies soared 34 percent to $76.3 billion. And unlike other industries, such as Big Oil, drug companies get something even better than a tax subsidy -- they get a government program.