The disdain of big pharma

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.

It’s hard to understand how an industry under attack and in the spotlight could continually show that it doesn’t care one bit about the public. Money is so important that they’re even fighting over Covid vaccine royalties.

According to the WSJ “who deserves credit for medical discoveries has long been a battleground for companies, academia, and government. Patents are especially valuable in the pharmaceutical industry because they can give a company the exclusive right to sell a drug or vaccine for many years, free from generic competition”. Analysts estimate that the two vaccines will post combined sales of more than $52 billion in 2022, which will be helped by demand for booster shots.

Patient advocates on Monday condemned the U.S. pharmaceutical industry for ushering in the new year with price hikes on more than 440 medications, a move that came as congressional Democrats’ plan to lower prescription drug costs remained stuck due to Sen. Joe Manchin’s persistent obstruction.

The most significant hike came courtesy of Pfizer, which raised the price of its anti-inflammatory medication Solu-Cortef by nearly 17%. The price boost took effect after Pfizer had a massively profitable 2021, thanks in large part to its coronavirus vaccine, which benefited from public funding and U.S. government-developed technology.

At a time when Americans are struggling with the surging omicron variant and prices for prescription drugs that are four times what other wealthy nations pay, Big Pharma began the new year yet again hitting Americans with unjustified and widespread price hikes.

David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs,

According to a recent study conducted by the polling organization Gallup in partnership with the nonprofit West Health, roughly 15.5 million U.S. adults under the age of 65 and 2.3 million seniors were unable to afford at least one doctor-prescribed medication in 2021, a finding that bolstered calls for government action to rein in sky-high drug costs in the U.S… Reforms are coming and are overwhelmingly supported by more than 80% of voters—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike—and will fight inflation by holding the line on premiums and health care costs for patients, employers, employees, and taxpayers.

 Several blockbuster drugs were included in this initial batch of 2022 price hikes according to Axios:

  • Gilead: ⬆️ 5.6% on HIV drugs Biktarvy and Descovy.
  • Pfizer: ⬆️ 6.9% on breast cancer drug Ibrance, ⬆️ 6.9% on its Prevnar vaccine and ⬆️ 4.4% on the costly heart drugs Vyndamax and Vyndaqel.
  • Purdue: ⬆️ 5% on opioid poster child OxyContin.
  • Vertex: ⬆️ 4.9% on Trikafta, a blockbuster cystic fibrosis medication that has no competitors and already has a list price of more than $311.

I just don’t have the words anymore. I understand the need to keep investors happy but pharma’s actions will lead to more people asking for negotiations on drugs for Medicare and it’s about time. I’m ashamed.