John and Laura Arnold, from Houston, are on a mission to ensure fairer drug prices. Although the couple retired in their 30s — after very successful careers as a hedgefund manager and a corporate lawyer — they decided to use their skills to create a foundation to address this pressing issue, which affects millions of Americans today.
Since large pharmaceutical companies exert control on the regulatory system and delivery of drugs, they can monopolize the industry to ensure higher profits. The Arnolds believe basic changes to this could have a huge affect. For example, they want to see a change in the current patent laws, which allow drug companies to extend their patents for years, therefore cutting out any potential competition.
This stranglehold over the industry means that list prices remain unnecessarily high. Although the end users don’t normally pay the full price directly, the money has to come from somewhere, and this has a big impact on insurance companies and the policies businesses and individuals must pay for. As the parents of three children say in an interview on NBC News, it’s a form of oppression.
With $119 million already in the foundation, the Arnolds hope to be able to use their experience to help create a fairer pharmaceutical industry. This cause is just one of many from the power couple — they’re also working on other issues to help better peoples’ lives, while sharing the importance of philanthropy with their kids.