We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Big Pharma has brought this on themselves. It makes no sense that the same medication purchased in another country should be cheaper sometimes half the cost. They are using the U.S. market as a cash cow. They could fix this easily by charging exactly the same price everywhere.
The vast majority of the world has even less of a market friendly approach to drug sales than the US. In many cases drug manufacturers are faced with either direct price controls or must sell via government wholesalers, backed by the power of governments to authorize importation. In some cases the bargining also includes the possibility that the government will ignore patent protection and authorize a local company to compound a drug if the originating company won't sell at an approved price.
When I was in practice, I used to tell the "Detail Men (and women) to leave any samples and that was it. No discussion. Of course, I was a surgeon and did not prescribe more than a few drugs. My wife was a nurse practitioner and she would get invited on trips, etc.
There is a lot spent on marketing and I once attended a talk by a Psychiatrist about anti-depressants and he pointed out how the ads have changed in medical journals. In the 1950s, the ads, always showing women, showed sad looking patients. By the 1990s, the ads showed happy women who were leading rewarding lives because of the anti-depressants they were taking. Taking drugs for depression had become normal.
And that's why many countries ban consumer targeted ads for prescription drugs.
And quite a few ban any "incentives" for doctors to prescribe them as well. Which of necessity has loopholes, because inviting those doctors to "seminars" lasting a long weekend in some holiday resort, all expenses covered, can't really be banned.
But at least the pharma company can't give doctors kickbacks for prescribing certain numbers of doses for example.
But they are correct too to say that price controls hurt patients.
Price controls here have led to multiple pharmaceuticals simply pulling all their products from the market, leading to a severe shortage of medication for some conditions.
Mind that that's in part because the price levels our government has set as the limit are sometimes so low that they don't even cover the cost of raw materials.