What wasn’t discussed at JP Morgan healthcare conference


  • The JP Morgon healthcare conference focused on the financial aspect of healthcare but patients were left out.
  • This comes at a time when “a third of U.S. adults say their family couldn’t afford care in the past year and one in four say care was deferred for a serious medical condition. (Source: Gallup)
  • In addition, the cost of essential medications for multiple sclerosis has nearly tripled this decade.

The number one topic at the JP Morgon healthcare conference was cancer according to Twitter. Was it the fact that 42% of new cancer patients lose their life savings or that 62 percent of cancer patients report being in debt due to their treatment? No. It was about the goldmine of cancer treatments.

According to Gallup “a record, 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup’s trend. Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.

I just don’t get it. A friend of mine is losing her life savings as she cares for her aging parents, MS patients are paying record prices for new drugs, hidden hospital charges can bankrupt a patient and insurance companies and PBM’s are raking in the profits.

Maybe I am too naive to believe that JP Morgon would focus on anything but making money but at some point in time someone has to stand up and shout “people despise our industry because too many players are making too much money at their expense!”.

PhRMA’s influence, the propaganda arm of big pharma, continues to touch almost every corner of state and federal politics, especially conservative groups and is a big reason why the country’s high drug prices have not changed. Hundreds of millions of dollars were funneled to law firms, advertising agencies, patient groups, political campaigns, think tanks, astroturf organizations and executive pay.

Humira, the number one drug in terms of dollars for Medicare, has defied any price regulation through AbbVie’s aggressive use of patents and deals with generic manufacturers to forestall competition. (Industry and regulators call generic biologic drugs biosimilars because, while the FDA’s standard for their approval requires there be no meaningful clinical difference, they are not replicas.)

Yet people assemble inSan Francisco to talk about money and healthcare. This is what our industry has become. Shareholders over patients.