Letter: Learn why prescription drug costs are so high

To the editor:

Like most people, I have long been aware that prescription drug prices are high in the United States. Also like most people, I didn't pay an awful lot of attention to why they are so high. That changed recently when I saw the movie "Big Pharma." I quickly went from curious to enraged. Our drug prices are the result of the pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma) deliberately warping every aspect of both the free market and the government that is supposedly regulating it. Did you know that Big Pharma employs 1,100 lobbyists and spends well over $200 million a year just on lobbying? The lobbyists work to further the interests of Big Pharma, which means that they almost always work counter to the interests of you, me, and just about every other American. That $200-plus million is probably a good investment from Big Pharma's point of view. If you were a suspicious sort, you might suspect that this lobbying has something to do with the fact the Medicare is prohibited by law from negotiating drug prices. And the drug companies can certainly afford the lobbying expense, given that Americans spend many times that amount — roughly $320 billion — every year on prescription drugs. That means that these drug companies get $1,600 in sales in the US for every dollar they spend on lobbying. I invite you to come watch the documentary, Big Pharma at any of three showings that Rights and Democracy of Bennington is sponsoring in the upcoming weeks. Learn for yourself what's going on and have the opportunity to talk about what this means both for our healthcare and our overall economy. The movie will be shown free of charge, with free popcorn, on Sept. 14, outdoors at Merchants Park, corner of North and Pleasant Streets, at 7 p.m. Bring your chair with you. If it rains, the show will be at St. Peter's Church, just down Pleasant Street. (There will be another showing on ) Sept. 17 in the Crispe Room of the Vermont Veterans Home on North Street, at 2 p.m. (and another on) Oct. 10 at the Bennington Free Library on Silver Street, at 7 p.m. We can build a better system that will improve healthcare for all, be more efficient and save money. If you would like any information about the showings, call me, Rachel Blumenthal, at 447-3512, or Dick Dundas at 447-7433.

— Rachel Blumenthal

North Bennington


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