Choosing Between Food and Medicine
The COVID-19 induced recession has taken another ominous turn as the Census Bureau recently reported that almost 30 million Americans responded in a survey that they did not have enough food to eat at some point during the week before July 21 . A record number of people are also going to food banks . The reason for this situation is the combination of COVID-19 mandated shutdowns with their resulting effects and the economic consequences from high unemployment generated from these business closures. This turn of events is not surprising as similar effects were seen during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 induced recession is much more severe, with the unemployment rate still above 10% (the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 10.2% rate for July 2020) . This means people are increasingly having to make tough choices about where to spend scarce dollars for necessity items like food, medicine, rent/mortgage, or essential utility bills.
Many in the pharma industry currently fear that the broad use of price controls, once thought of as being theoretical and a remote possibility, is now an inevitability. This author has previously noted in articles published on the Axtria Research Hub that the imposition of price controls represent an existential threat to the industry. The political forces that once shielded the industry from the imposition of direct price controls for federal reimbursement on programs like Medicare have been severely weakened. The imposition of such federal program controls will effectively spillover into private insurance markets.