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)
Biogen will partner with Roche on the development, and potential sale of a promising cancer drug the Swiss pharma is advancing for several types of lymphoma, announcing Tuesday it’s exercised an option to share rights to the treatment. But is it too late for Biogen to stage a comeback with their reputation damaged?
A cancer medication called Xtandi costs $189,800 per year and was developed with taxpayer dollars. The U.S. government has a responsibility for ending the exclusive patents that give them their profits. The Department of Health and Human Services is currently considering whether to allow the generic manufacturing of Xtandi, which could drop the price of a pill from $400 to $3 overnight.
Drug companies raised the prices on hundreds of medications on Jan. 1, with most prices up 5% to 6% on average. In addition, a report says that Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer are among the companies and trade groups to have donated $8 million to Republicans who voted against certifying Biden’s election victory.
The public has been told that pharma needs money to develop new drugs, but unfortunately, that’s a huge lie. As biopharmadive recently, “some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies, sitting on large and growing sums of cash, are funneling those funds into major share buyback programs and acquisitions of smaller biotech companies.