My first topic was on one very specific issue. That issue was the recent price hike of the drug known as EpiPen.
As I continued to work I changed my focus to price hikes as a whole. Initially, I considered this topic very one-sided as I couldn’t really see a strong argument for raising the price of drugs. But, the work I did on the annotated bibliography really opened my eyes as to why pharmaceutical companies make their decision and the inherent problems with present healthcare in America.
My perception of people who ran drug companies was unconditionally negative. Due to my previous experiences with healthcare costs in the past I was quick to pass judgement on them as greedy and amoral people. The personal actions of certain people such as Martin Shkreli solidified these perceptions.
The more I researched the economic side of creating new drugs and the cost of maintaining obscure drugs that few people use, I became more understanding of their decisions and saw more sides of the argument. Personally, I don’t think there should be a limit on how much a company should charge for certain drugs. Certain business decisions shouldn’t be micromanaged by the government. Our current healthcare system incentives higher prices and overcharging, with insurance covering most costs, pharmaceutical companies can charge more for a drug without the consumer knowing the actual price. The only way that this system of overcharging will stop is with a complete overhaul of the healthcare system.
Although I find it easier to understand and rationalize the choices these companies make on a moral level I still do not believe that pharmaceutical companies should play by the exact same rules other businesses do. Proper healthcare is not a luxury; people shouldn’t have to make a choice between living in poverty or not getting medical treatments. In the long run yes, consumers benefit from the increase in research and the improvements that leads to. But, it shouldn’t be at the expense of those who need the more expensive drugs. At the end of the day these companies are for-profit, they have a legal obligation to their shareholders to maximize profits. This obligation clashes with their responsibility to the consumer to provide effective drugs for affordable prices.
This course has taught me many things about our current healthcare system. When I first discovered my issue the solutions seemed obvious and the argument seemed one sided. But, when I found the other sides of the argument that I didn’t consider it made my views much more complex. In the process of researching I found out why things are the way they are. I’ve never had a class like this but I prefer it to the traditional English class by a long shot. The things I learned about are the things I wanted to learn. I appreciate the freedom that this style of class gives. I never felt disinterested in my work because I had so much control over my topic and how I could approach each project.