American citizens pay twice as much as other wealthy countries for the same drugs. There is no difference in the care or medicine, the American pharmaceutical market is simply out of control.

Economist Dean Baker wrote in the New York Times that America is the only wealthy country that doesn’t have some sort of government limit on much “drug companies can exploit the monopoly” of drug patents. Essentially, the “free market” of the pharmaceutical industry heralded by capitalists is a joke.

Recently, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli purchased the drug Daraprim and increased the price by 5,000 percent. The American public became outraged and Shkreli became the face of the American health care industry and everything it stands for. However, Shkreli isn’t a pioneer. He’s merely the poster boy for the longstanding and everpresent greed of Big Pharma.

Big Pharma’s top excuse for abusing drug patents is drug research. Baker noted that Americans “spend over $30 billion a year financing research through the National Institutes of Health.” By increasing that spending, patent-supported research could be eradicated and we could pay over-the-counter prices for otherwise expensive drugs.

Big Pharma’s top priority isn’t research, it’s profit. That’s the bottom line.

For more on this story, visit the New York Times “End Patent Monopolies on Drugs”