A friend of mine passed on this article from the New York Review of Books on drug companies. I haven’t finished reading it myself, but here’s an excerpt from it:
In fact, year after year, for over two decades, this industry has been far and away the most profitable in the United States. (In 2003, for the first time, the industry lost its first-place position, coming in third, behind “mining, crude oil production,” and “commercial banks.”) The prices drug companies charge have little relationship to the costs of making the drugs and could be cut dramatically without anywhere close to threatening R&D.
Interesting, don’t you think(?), that oil and banks should supplant the pharmaceuticals during the Bush administration. These drug companies are really global entitities according to the article, so there’s plenty of blame to go around. The article also makes the point that:
In 2001, nearly one in four seniors reported that they skipped doses or did not fill prescriptions because of the cost. (That fraction is almost certainly higher now.)