AbbVie’s wall of patents protecting its top-selling drug Humira will keep another would-be competitor from entering the U.S. market until next year, with the pharmaceutical company announcing Tuesday a settlement with the Iceland-based Alvotech. Sales of Humira earned AbbVie $20.7 billion last year, the highest total for any pharmaceutical product and they will do anything to keep that money.

Large numbers of people in low-income countries face COVID unprotected, and millions of people would still be alive today if they had had access to a vaccine. Big pharma corporations have been given free rein to prioritize profits ahead of vaccine equality as the richest ten men doubled their fortunes during the pandemic. A new billionaire is being created every 26 hours profiting from vaccines, treatments, tests, etc. PPE. When is enough enough?

The Republican blockade of President Biden’s nominees for federal agencies escalated last week and now allows profit-hungry middlemen to keep prescription drug prices high. Last Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission was blocked from initiating an investigation into how pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are responsible for higher drug prices. This has PhRMA written all over it.

Pfizer expects to make as much as $22bn from its new Covid pill this year, on top of $37bn it made in 2021 from the vaccine. Pfizer’s Paxlovid currently costs about $530 for a five-day course of the treatment. Merck’s molnupiravir, now approved for use in the U.K., costs about $700. Reportedly, the cost of production for molnupiravir stands at about $17.74. Experts across the board are predicting demand for antiviral drugs will rapidly outpace supply.

Pfizer has held a vaccine monopoly, blocking low-income countries from accessing its novel technology, while enriching shareholders at levels advocates for vaccine equity label “obscene.” The corporation is making as much as $1 million in profits every hour from vaccine sales, according to Oxfam, and its executives boast that revenues will expand exponentially in 2022. (The Atlantic)