Why Are Drug Prices So High? What Can We Do About It?

Recent price increases emphasize the immense financial challenges facing consumers and health care plans.

Chris Williams/WDET

Back in January, drug makers started out the new year with a whole lot of new price hikes for more than 1,000 medications.

Some of the most well known drugs getting more expensive are OxyContin, with a 9.5 percent jump, and the blood thinner Pradaxa, up 8 percent.

Jon Conradi, national spokesperson for the Campaign for Sustainable RX Pricing, says the higher prices are part of a longer term trend over the last five years, in which the cost of brand name pharmaceuticals has increased 10 times the rate of inflation.

This increase emphasizes the immense financial challenges facing consumers and health care plans.

So what can we do about it? And what’s happening in Washington D.C. around legislation and regulation of the pharmaceutical industry?

Conradi joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about the issues at play.

Henderson also speaks with Dr. Paul Thomas, a primary care physician at Plum Health in Southwest Detroit. Since 2016, Thomas has had his patients pay an affordable monthly membership fee for healthcare and then he gets them their necessary medication at cost. A common blood pressure medication that would normally cost between $5 and $10 when billed through insurance and filled at a pharmacy, is instead costing patients just 27 cents for a month supply.

Click on the audio player above to hear those conversations.


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.