Pharmaceutical companies should absolutely be regulated, and regulated strictly, in order to mitigate rising drug prices. Many of the people who need pharmaceuticals the most, including the elderly and the chronically ill, cannot work the same hours as a healthy person in order to afford the medicines that they need. Others rely on their medical insurance to cover most, if not all, of their pharmaceutical costs. If pharmaceutical companies continue to raise prices on even generic drugs, these people will not be able to afford their medication and many perfectly treatable diseases will go untreated. Drug companies as they stand now simply do not have strict enough regulations if owners like Martin Shkreli can massively increase prices overnight, with no oversight process.
Yes, pharmaceutical companies should be regulated to control rising costs. Potentially life-saving medication should not be something that only those with deep pockets can afford. The medical system in America is consistently becoming more expensive leaving more low-income and middle-class families in the dust when it comes to health care. If we are not going to make health care and prescription medication a guaranteed public service, such as England, then we should at least be sure that the cost of these services remains low and affordable for everyone.
I think that drug prices should be regulating drug prices. Drugs are already expensive enough and rising prices are only helping the capitalists. Also those who most need the drugs are often fairly sick and can not afford to pay for the proper drug. In turn they often go without the drugs that they need.
At present, pharmaceutical companies are free to charge whatever they think the market can bear. However, it seems fair to compare pharmaceutical costs to utility costs, which are often regulated for the public good. The costs of drugs are a major cost driver behind the ever-increasing price of insurance coverage. This harms not just private companies and individuals, but the state and federal governments as well, since they pay the costs of Medicaid and support those on what is now called "Obamacare."
If the pharmaceutical companies can price gouge, check for protectionism from the legislature. If there is a barrier from the law that prevents new players on the field, there you go.
Now, if one guy has a monopoly, he can charge whatever he wants. Someone will come up with a substitute.