KEY TAKEAWAY: Since 1980 and the Bayh-Dole Act, drug companies can feed off research funded by the National Institutes of Health, which they acquire at late stages of development. As pointed out by former New England Journal of Medicine editor Dr. Marcia Angell, the big companies can either license the drugs or buy out small biotech companies carrying out NIH-funded research.[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] In short, much of the research going into these products is funded by taxpayers, not pharmaceutical revenues.[/inlinetweet] Profits above taxpayers.
The inventor of hepatitis C cure worked as a VA doctor when he invented the drug that now sells for $1,000 per pill. It only costs $16 to make. Dr. Raymond Schinazi, a VA doctor since 1983, founded a company named Pharmasset and led the scientific team that discovered sofosbuvir while working at VA. That is the substances used in current hep C pill treatments.
Dr. Schinazi claims he was only a government employee 7/8 of the time. He further claims that in the remaining 1/8 of his time he invented drugs needed for very sick veterans that cost $84,000 for a 12-week regimen. However, it costs only $1,400 to manufacture that same 12-week regimen. In 2012, Dr. Schinazi sold Pharmasset to a Gilead for $11 billion. Of that, Dr. Schinazi netted $400 million in profit.
Are you are scratching your head on how a Federal employee working for the agency was able to develop a drug, keep rights to the property, and then sell it back to the government? Welcome to the latest edition of “take the money and run”.
[pullquote]How can big pharma take a drug that was developed by a scientist working for the VA and turn around and charge $1000 a pill while their CEO raked in almost $100 million in salary and benefits in 2016? It’s called for profit health care and it’s killing us.[/pullquote]
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Now there are people who say that “for profit healthcare” leads to competition, but when you have to chose between a drug that costs $1000 and one that costs $950 where is that competition?[/inlinetweet]
PhRMA, the propaganda lobbying arm for big pharma says that Bayh-Dole propelled the US to global leadership in life sciences but that’s pure bullshit. The only thing it has propelled is drug company profits and stock prices.
A Baltimore hospital security guards were caught wheeling a patient to a bus stop, and in the freezing temperatures they left her there. The only thing she had on was a hospital gown. Why? Because there was no money for the hospital in treating her. Remember profits above patients.
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Greed and health care are a bad combination. [/inlinetweet]