President Biden successfully got insulin costs capped at $35 per month for Medicare recipients. But corporate sellout Democrats in the House and Kirsten Sinema in the Senate — along with every Republican — blocked his efforts to extend that to all Americans with diabetes. This is what happens when big pharma has no conscious.
Voters want proper healthcare and won’t wipe out their savings. Unfortunately, pharma has spent more on lobbying than ever before, and it shows.
Molnupiravir is the new pill that’s been all over the news recently because it can cut hospitalizations and deaths of unvaccinated Covid-infected people by as much as half and doesn’t require folks to go to the hospital or an infusion center, like the monoclonal antibody treatment. You’re good if you take four pills every day for five days.
Emory University originally developed it to treat horses infected with Venezuelan equine encephalitis with a $10 million grant from the Department of Defense and an additional $19 million from the National Institutes of Health.
In other words, the drug was paid for with our tax dollars.
Emory University passed the patent on molnupiravir to a small company, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which sold it to the pharmaceutical giant Merck.
The manufacturing cost for molnupiravir, according to a report from researchers with the Harvard School of Public Health, is around $17.74 for a 5-day course of treatment.
Merck signed a contract in 2021 with the federal government to sell 1.7 million treatment courses to the federal and (and via the feds) to state governments to distribute to infected people for — wait for it — $712.00 each.
This price-gouging hustle was made possible — and, ironically, perhaps made legal — by a piece of legislation passed back in 1980 that allowed universities to sell patents to inventions funded with federal money to non-profit organizations and small businesses…but not to significant corporations.
Since then, small businesses like Ridgeback have served as middlemen handing off profitable pharmaceuticals developed with our tax dollars to giant corporations like Merck. It’s a slick way to get around the law’s original intent.
Big Pharma is buying off members of Congress to encourage an end to “March-in” altogether and block any efforts to regulate the cost of drugs or let Medicare negotiate prices.
Drugs have become a massive rip-off of the American people, making Big Pharma’s multi-millionaire and billionaire executives and shareholders fabulously wealthy. They also generate an enormous pot of money that five conservatives on the Supreme Court have ruled; in Citizens United, the executives and drug companies are welcome to use to corrupt politicians.
Most recently, they “picked” Senator Kyrsten Sinema, pouring a flood of cash into her pockets, so she blocked any efforts to control drug prices in Biden’s initial Build Back Better legislation.
Big pharma has no way of justifying sky-high prices.
Researchers say there’s no justification for sky-high drug prices, considering that most industry spending isn’t on research and development (R&D) for these medications. The London-based team adds it’s the job of the government to encourage the industry to make medications more affordable for the public.
“Given the amount spent on non-research and development activities and that most new drugs add little or no therapeutic value, in theory, the biopharmaceutical industry could generate more medically valuable innovation with its existing resources,” says Aris Angelis, an assistant professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Services Research and Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), in a media release. “This is unlikely to happen, however, without government intervention or regulation along the lifecycle of new medicines.”
From 1999 to 2018, the world’s 15 largest pharmaceutical companies spent more on selling, general. Administrative activities liker than R&D. Publicly available reports show that these companies had total revenue of $7.7 trillion and spent $2.2 trillion on selling. Administrative marketing rathe costs — with only $1.4 trillion spent on R&D. Further, most new medicines developed during this time offered no or minimal clinical benefit compared to existing treatments, according to the study. The team says that if these companies decided to shift their spending, they could make drugs more cost-effective.BMJ
This isn’t the first time pharmaceutical companies have been under fire for their pricing practices. However, they often argue that high prices are necessary to pay for R&D on new medicines. While researchers agree that there are several financial components and risks to weigh when coming out with new medicines, drug companies’ spending makes it a little harder to take their claims at face value.
I don’t know what can be done. It’s about money and only money. Patients don’t matter anymore. VC firms have started taking over hospitals and reducing the number of physicians available in the ER.
I can’t, with a clear conscience, work for big pharma anymore. I prefer the smaller biotechs that believe in what they’re doing. If you can read this article without getting angry, then I feel bad for you because you’re part of the problem.