Guest opinion: Addressing the cost of health care is Utahns’ top priority — and a big-time challenge

In this Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, file photo, a doctor tends to patients in his office in Illinois. The consulting firm Mercer says large U.S. employers saw their smallest health care cost increase in more than two decades in 2020, due to COVID-19, and workers may benefit from that in 2021. | Jeff Roberson, Associated Press

A little over two decades ago, I learned how lucrative the pharmaceutical industry could be. The father of a friend of mine, who was nearing retirement after a career with a drug company, was discussing how nice their recent company picnic had been. He went on to mention that they brought in a well-known band to play the event. The band?

U2. At a company picnic.

That’s what giant profit margins can do for you. A 2019 analysis by the West Health Policy Center and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that large, brand-name drug manufacturers would still be the most profitable industry sector even with $1 trillion in lower sales, all while maintaining current research investments. And that was before the coronavirus hit.

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