Ramblings & ephemera

Prescription drug spending has vastly increased in 25 years

From Clifton Leaf’s “The Law of Unintended Consequences” (Fortune: 19 September 2005):

Whatever the answer, it’s clear who pays for it. You do. You pay in the form of vastly higher drug prices and health-care insurance. Americans spent $179 billion on prescription drugs in 2003. That’s up from … wait for it … $12 billion in 1980 [when the Bayh-Dole Act was passed]. That’s a 13% hike, year after year, for two decades. Of course, what you don’t pay as a patient you pay as a taxpayer. The U.S. government picks up the tab for one in three Americans by way of Medicare, Medicaid, the military, and other programs. According to the provisions of Bayh-Dole, the government gets a royalty-free use, forever, of its funded inventions. It has never tried to collect. You might say the taxpayers pay for the hat–and have it handed to them.

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