In a nod to the founding fathers, several states have started a revolution against the tyranny of high-margin pharmaceuticals with the uninsured elderly playing the role of constituents deprived of their rights. This time the battlefield is the U.S. courts, and lawyers representing both sides are firing shots and sizing up each other’s strength. As concerned citizens of the pharmaceutical industry, you should know that we are up against a formidable constituency ready to go to great lengths to balance its budget. The situation is reminiscent of the original 13 colonies with New England once again leading the way. Don’t be surprised if you see people dumping large amounts of antibiotics into Boston Harbor soon.
On one side of the courtroom are prescription drug manufacturers with billions of dollars of revenue at stake. On the other side are several states, including West Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, and the strong-arm triumvirate of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, representing millions of moderate- to low-income residents who don’t have insurance and can’t afford to buy prescription drugs. In the balance is a pool of money that will continue to feed the bottom line of pharmaceutical companies or reduce the burden of prescription pharmaceutical costs on state budgets. The question is: Can both sides win?
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Don Sharpe is a marketing manager at a top-20 pharmaceutical company. The views expressed in this article are exclusively those of the author, and do not reflect the views of anyone else or his employer.