Novartis’s PR nightmare

KEY SUMMARY: “Any formal lobbying by companies of Congress or Cabinet agencies must be reported and disclosed quarterly. Novartis’s outreach to Cohen — who isn’t part of the administration, isn’t a registered lobbyist and isn’t an expert in the telecommunications or pharmaceutical industriesfalls into a secretive, gray area of influence activity that ethics experts charge is ripe for abuse.”

Pharma companies hire and pay high ranking political consultants all the time.  What is so disturbing here is that Novatis could be dumb enough to pay Mr Cohen $1.2 million.  To pay ANYONE a huge amount like this would require a lot of checks and balances via approval; signatures.  The fact that nobody raised their hand and said “this is wrong” or “this is too high risk” is troubling.

Deeply embarrassed at being caught up in the Michael Cohen/Stormy Daniels scandal, senior execs at Novartis followed up with some reporters to throw Jimenez under the bus by acknowledging that the company was paying for access to the Trump administration, on the ex-CEO’s orders. (Source

As this scandal fades away we are left with another major left hook to an industry that is already taking punches from the media and politicians.  With every punch the needle that is going to burst the pharma bubble is getting sharper.  What dismays me so much is that all the good people working to improve patients’ lives don’t deserve this kind of publicity.

On top of this two Southern California men filed suit against Gilead Sciences on Tuesday, saying they were harmed when the drug company intentionally delayed development of a safer version of a crucial HIV medicine so that it could continue to profit from its lucrative monopoly .The lawsuit — and a similar case that seeks class-action status — says that Gilead executives knew as early as 2000 that the company’s scientists had developed a less toxic form of its HIV medicine tenofovir that was less harmful to patients’ kidneys and bones.

Instead of continuing to develop the safer alternative, the lawsuit claims, the Foster City company decided to hide tenofovir’s risks while earning billions of dollars as it became one of the world’s most prescribed medicines for HIV.

Who are we to believe?  A company that purchased a drug for Hec-C and priced it so most patients couldn’t afford it or the allegations in this lawsuit?

You can bet that everyone of these stories is going to fan the flames of single payer as health care premiums and the price of new drugs continues to rise.

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