Generic drugmakers have been fixing prices and when prices are high, people die

When businesses cheat, it costs us money. When the healthcare industry cheats, the cost is in lives.

If we can’t afford the medicine we need to stay healthy, we will get sicker. We may no longer be able to work and support our families.

Big drug makers set their drugs artificially high, blaming the high costs of research and development of new drugs. The law grants these “brand name” drug makers protection from competition for a period of time. After that period generic versions can be sold, which can bring the prices down drastically.

Unless, that is, the generic makers get together and fix prices to keep them high.

A lawsuit filed by more than 40 state Attorneys General, including WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, reveals that for many years top companies divided up the market to keep prices high so each could have a “fair share” of the profits.

But starting in 2012, they kicked into high gear to “significantly raise prices on as many drugs as possible," according to a Huntington Herald-Dispatch story.

A civil lawsuit to recoup some of the money may result in money for West Virginia that helps our bottom line. But what’s to stop this from happening again?

Lawmakers and the FDA need to show strong leadership and hold drug companies accountable.

Mael Balland photo |