Richard Wolff explains briefly and clearly the evil mechanism that the Big Pharma found to maintain huge profits, passing the bill to the workers:
The drug prices have been going up so high that more and more Americans who are covered with a medical insurance, say from where they work or if they work for the government, they still have to pay a deductible. And the deductible is now so high - because the cost of the medicines is so high - that people avoiding to go, even when they're covered, because they can't pay the deductible.
This is terrible for the drug companies because if you don't go to get the medicine because you can't cover the deductible, the prescription isn't written and the drug company hasn't got the sale. They don't care who pays them, whether is you or the insurance company, they just want to sell the damn thing. So it's a problem for them that people can't afford the deductible.
And they came up with a genius answer. They set up foundations with lovely, warm names. Do you know what the foundation does? The drug companies give the money to the foundation, the foundation gives the money to the poor to pay the deductible because that still leaves a mammoth profit. Now the poor can go, have their deductible taken care by the very company that is overcharging the insurance company for the rest of it.
But if you think that it allows you to escape, it doesn't.
Because when the insurance has to pay these crazy prices, they turn around and charge your employer more money for the policy that covers you as a worker, at which time the employer says to you either 'you're fired, I'm not gonna pay that', or, 'I'm going to deduct out of your weekly check more and more'. There is a strike going on, right now.
Subsequently, Wolff gives an example showing that workers' unions refuse to accept contracts with low raises because in the end they will see their income further reduced due to inflation and due to this trick by the Big Pharma, described above. Still, it seems that this leaves the Big Pharma untouchable because it transfers the conflict to the employers-workers level.