Drug makers are trying to keep revenues afloat by raising prices ahead of many drug-patent expirations and the possibility of changing government regulations, part of the presidential candidates' agendas. But aggressive price increases could backfire politically, pushing policies toward greater government power over price negotiations.
In some instances, drug makers are raising prices on medications that are due to lose patent protection so that customers will switch to -- and continue to buy -- similar, newer products that enjoy market exclusivity well into the future.
It's a tactic that pharmaceutical companies use "to shift patients to next-generation drugs by making old ones so expensive," says Michael Krensavage, a drug-industry analyst with Raymond James & Associates. For example, Sanofi raised Ambien's price ahead of its loss of patent protection last year so that it was more expensive than Ambien CR, a new formulation, to encourage patients to switch to Ambien CR, which will be patent-protected for several more years.
So why exactly are we granting pharmaceuticals this monopoly? It is an industry why extremely (obscenely?) high returns that in no way seems to need this kind of protection. If it is capable of locking customers in (addicting them?), it should rather be imposed a sin tax.
PS: on a lighter note, there is a youtube clone dedicated to ... pizza and it features the United States Pizza Team.