Have a read- it's very eye-opening
Yet every time Congress debates doing something about drug prices, the industry—and the advocacy groups it funds—vociferously returns to the point that lower prices will thwart innovative research. The fear of missing a cure for Alzheimer’s or Lou Gehrig’s disease or depression contributes to stalling reform. But there are many reasons to question the widely held notion that high drug prices and innovative research are inextricably linked.
The most telling data on a disconnect between drug prices and research costs has received almost no public attention. Peter Bach, a researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and his colleagues compared prices of the top 20 best-selling drugs in the United States to the prices in Europe and Canada. They found that the cumulative revenue from the price difference on just these 20 drugs more than covers all the drug research and development costs conducted by the 15 drug companies that make those drugs—and then some
To be more precise, after accounting for the costs of all research—about $80 billion a year—drug companies had $40 billion more from the top 20 drugs alone, all of which went straight to profits, not research. More excess profit comes from the next 100 or 200 brand-name drugs.
Drug companies tend to say they are unique in needing to spend a higher proportion of their capital on research than almost any other industry. But of all the companies in the world, the one that invests the most in research and development is not a drug company. It’s Amazon. The online retailer spendsabout $20 billion a year on R&D, despite being renowned for both low prices and low profits. Among the 25 worldwide companies that spend the most on research and development—all more than $5 billion a year—seven are pharmaceutical manufacturers, but eight are automobile or automobile-parts companies with profit margins under 10 percent. Amazon’s operating margin is under 5 percent. Meanwhile, the top 25 pharmaceutical companies reported a “healthy average operating margin of 22 percent” at the end of 2017, according to an analysis by GlobalData.