Rising drug prices in America are symptomatic of an industry that enjoys a monopoly on pricing and delivery and exploits patent laws in pursuit of maximizing profits, say Laura and John Arnold in an interview with NBC Nightly News' Anne Thompson.
"The industry has pushed pricing so far that it's created a fury amongst the populace," says John Arnold, co-founder and co-chair of Arnold Ventures.
Arnold Ventures has made drug pricing a top priority, aiming to reform a system marked by market failures: Competition is insufficient, government-granted monopolies allow drug manufacturers to set prices at will, and special interests wield enough influence to block reform. The result is dramatically inflated drug prices in the U.S. that are double that of 19 advanced industrialized nations.
"These kinds of companies have a monopoly on the regulatory system, on the delivery system, on the products, so this isn't capitalism. This is a form of oppression," says Laura Arnold, co-founder and co-chair of Arnold Ventures.
The NBC report cites an Arnold Ventures-funded study by I-MAK that shows drug prices have increased 68% since 2012, and the top 12 selling drugs in the U.S. are attempting to nearly double their patent protection from 20 to 38 years, blocking competition from generics while raising prices. These are drugs that have been on the U.S. market for 15 years, the report says.
"We want the patent system reformed, and we want a regulatory structure that incentivizes breakthrough drugs, not prolonging the patent for the sake of maximizing profits," says Laura Arnold.
Arnold Ventures has invested in nonprofit generic drug company Civica Rx, which aims to stabilize the supply of essential generic medications administered in hospitals. The company has partnered with 19 large hospital systems.