Healthcare costs remain as one of the reasons millions of people worldwide don’t have access to proper medications to use against life-threatening diseases. Such conditions proved fatal to the global population during the initial spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Populations that Do Not Have Access to Affordable Medicines and Health Care
Despite the continuing progress and discoveries achieved by medical researchers, the global community of countries was unable to prevent the Wuhan COVID-19 outbreak from spreading across populations. Many were not physiologically and mentally prepared to face a deadly virus.
Although there have been previous infectious disease outbreaks, the COVID-19 virus strain is different. It was able to evolve and mutate into different and more potent variants that could easily destroy those with weak immune system; allowing the coronavirus to spread continuously to people who remained passive and ignorant about the threats of the disease.
Many refused to be tested believing that the coronavirus disease is just a mere hoax; not fully understanding that with every positive case of infection, the number is inclined to grow exponentially as more and more transmission transpire.
Politics and Its Impact on the Well-Being of a Nation’s Population
In the U.S., it didn’t help that at the very onset of the outbreak, former President Trump downplayed the pandemic. While insisting that COVID-19 is just another flu that will go away like a miracle, he also helped spread the disease by holding superspreader events; mindless that hundreds of thousands of American citizens have already died from the coronavirus disease.
Moreover, politics has always been behind the continuously rising prices of medicines and healthcare coverage. Pharmaceutical companies benefited greatly from the financial support they gave to those who were able to hold office as political leaders and lawmakers.
In fact in March 2020, prior to the pandemic outbreak, a study conducted by researchers at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts revealed that pharmaceutical companies gained profits that outpaced all other industries by all financial measures: Gross Profit, Gross Annual Profit and Net Annual Revenue before Income Tax. Although pharma companies pay taxes, their tax payments were based on tax rates lower than what small to medium enterprises pay annually.
In the meantime, the majority of the middle and low income families earn wages that make it difficult for them to keep up with the soaring prices of medicines and healthcare facikities. There are those who can afford to take out policies for private healthcare coverage, yet provisions for prescription drugs are usually minimal.
Many others, including middle income families relied on the Obamacare program that afforded them some kind of financial relief in meeting regular and even major healthcare costs. However, the Trump administration made several attempts to undo the Obamacare Act supporting the program. Thankfully, the new Biden administration plans to continue the program but under a new name The Affordable Care Act.
Missteps in Drug Regulations
Even drug regulations turned out to be faulty. Purdue Pharma, the company behind the controversial opioid-based drug OXY-Contin was able to market and sell the product as a harmless pain-reliever by mislabeling the medicine.
After the drug was exposed for its addictive content, the company paid billions in fines to help the families of people who became addicted to OXY-Contin. The harmful drug is still available but has been classified as highly addictive, listed as a Type 2 Controlled Substance as a brand of the generic drug Oxycodone.
Speaking of controlled substances, the generic pain-relief drug Carisoprodol, popularly known as soma pills is categorized as a Type 4 Controlled Substance, which denotes that it has less proclivity to be addictive if taken in low dosages.