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As the new Coronavirus spreads illness, death, and catastrophes around the world, virtually no economic sector has been sparred from harm. Yet amid mayhem from global pandemic, one industry is not only surviving, it is profiting handsomely. Pharmaceutical companies view Covid - 19 as a once - in - time business opportunity, says Gerald Posner, author of PHARMA: Greed, lie, and Poisoning of America. The world needs pharmaceutical products, of course. For new Coronavirus outbreak, in particular, we need treatments and vaccines and, in the US, tests. Dozens of companies are now vying to make them. They re all in that race, says Posner, who describes the potential payoffs for winning the race as huge. The global crisis will potentially be a blockbuster for industry in terms of sales and profits, he say, adding that the worse the pandemics get, higher their eventual profit. The ability to make money off of pharmaceuticals is already uniquely large in the US, which lacks basic price controls other countries have, giving drug companies more freedom over setting prices for their products than anywhere else in the world. During the current crisis, pharmaceutical makers may have even more leeway than usual because of language industry lobbyists insert into 8. 3 billioncoronavirus spending package, passed last week, to maximize their profits from pandemic. Initially, some lawmakers had tried to ensure that the federal government would limit how much pharmaceutical companies could reap from vaccines and treatments for new Coronavirus that they develop with use of public funding. In February, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D - Ill., And other House members wrote to Trump pleading that he ensure that any vaccine or treatment developed with US taxpayer dollars be accessible, available and affordable, goal they say couldn't be met if pharmaceutical corporations were given authority to set prices and determine distribution, putting profit - making interests ahead of Health priorities. When coronavirusfunding was being negotiate, Schakowsky tried again, writing to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on March 2 that it would be unacceptable if rights to produce and market that vaccine were subsequently handed over to pharmaceutical manufacturers through exclusive license with no conditions on pricing or access, allowing company to charge whatever it would like and essentially selling vaccine back to public who pay for its development. But many Republicans oppose adding language to the bill that would restrict the industry's ability to profit, arguing that it would stifle research and innovation. And although Azar, who served as top lobbyist and head of US operations for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly before joining the Trump Administration, assured Schakowsky that he shared her concerns, bill goes on to enshrine drug companies ' ability to set potentially exorbitant prices for vaccines and drugs they develop withtaxpayer dollars.
12 September 2021 • Big Pharma - How much power do drug companies have? | DW Documentary
Pharmaceutical companies are under the spotlight with Congressional hearings on the cost of drug prices and allegations of the industry's role in the opioid crisis. Dr. Raeford Brown, pediatric anesthesia specialist at UK Kentucky Children Hospital and chair of the Food and Drug Administration Committee on Analgesics and Anesthetics, has been openly critical of Big Pharma and the lack of proper oversight from FDA. Despite many politicians, particularly declare presidential candidates, beginning to speak out against Big Pharma, Brown does not think that anything will come out of it because Congress is owned by Pharma. The pharmaceutical industry pours millions of dollars into the legislative branch every single year, he told Yahoo Finance. In 2016, they put 100 million into elections. That ton of money.
The long road to Vioxx recall is arguably one of the most notable Big Pharma scandals in US history. Merck announced a voluntary worldwide recall of its painkiller in 2004. It comes four years after evidence links drugs to significant health risks. Company executives decided not to study Vioxx for cardiovascular risks. Fda later found the drug may cause increased risk of heart attack and stroke. One agency scientist, Dr. David Graham, estimates that use of Vioxx may have contributed to more than 27 000 heart attacks or deaths. In 2011, Merck plead guilty to criminal charges relating to marketing and sales of Vioxx. Company agreed to pay the US Department of Justice 950 million to resolve its misconduct. Merck settled with tens of thousands of injured patients in 2007. Merck agreed to pay 4. 85 billion to plaintiffs and their families.
|Medication and Dose||Indication||October 2012 Price||July 2018 Price||Price Increase|
|Abilify 20 mg||Depression||$26.35 per pill||$40.40 per pill||54%|
|Advair 250/50||Asthma||$3.97 per inhalation||$6.28 per inhalation||58%|
|Benicar 40 mg||Blood Pressure||$4.26 per pill||$9.35 per pill||119%|
|Byetta 10 mcg||Diabetes||$128.58 per dose pen||$283.34 per dose pen||120%|
|Cialis 20 mg||Antique Bathtub Sex||$23.64 per pill||$64.05 per pill||171%|
|Crestor 20 mg||Cholesterol||$4.99 per pill||$8.35 per pill||67%|
|Diovan 160 mg||Blood Pressure||$3.43 per pill||$7.64 per pill||123%|
|Effient 10 mg||Heart Disease||$6.80 per pill||$14.68 per pill||116%|
|Geodon 60 mg||Psychosis||$9.85 per capsule||$24.67 per capsule||150%|
|Gleevec 400 mg||Leukemia||$189.91 per pill||$328.10 per pill||73%|
|Januvia 50 mg||Diabetes||$7.30 per pill||$13.75 per pill||88%|
|Lyrica 50 mg||Pain||$3.00 per capsule||$7.43 per capsule||148%|
|Pristiq ER 50 mg||Depression||$4.84 per pill||$12.18 per pill||152%|
|Vytorin 10/40||Cholesterol||$4.70 per pill||$10.92 per pill||132%|
|Xarelto 20 mg||Atrial Fibrillation||$7.59 per pill||$13.44 per pill||77%|
How is it that pharmaceutical companies can charge patients 100, 000 200 000, or even 500 a 000 a year, many of which are not even curative? Abiraterone, for instance, is a drug used to treat metastatic prostate cancer. The Food and Drug Administration initially approved IT in 2011 to treat patients who failed to respond to previous chemotherapy. It does not cure anyone. Research suggests that in previously treated patients with metastatic prostate cancer, drugs extend life on average by four months. At its lowest price, IT costs about 10 000 month. Abiraterone is manufactured under the brand name Zytiga by Johnson & Johnson. To justify the price, company point me to its 2017 Janssen US Transparency Report, which State: We have an obligation to ensure that sales of our medicines provide the US with resources necessary to invest in future research and development. In other words, prices are necessary to fund expensive research projects to generate new drugs. This explanation is common among industry executives. To many Americans, IT can seem plausible and compelling. It is easy to conjure images of scientific researchers in their protective gear and goggles carefully dropping precious liquids into an array of Erlenmeyer flasks, searching for new cure for cancer or Alzheimer.'s But invoking high research costs to justify high drug prices is deceptive. No matter the metric, drug prices in the United States are extreme. Many drugs cost more than 120 a year. Few are even close to 1 million. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that Americans spend more than 460 billion on drugs16. 7 percent of total health - care spendingin 2016, last year for which there is definitive data. On average, citizens of other rich countries spend 56 percent of what Americans spend on the same drugs. Excessive drug prices are the single biggest category of Health - Care overspending in the United States compared with Europe, well beyond high administrative costs or excessive use of CT and MRI scans. And unlike almost every other product, drug prices continue to rapidly rise over time. Hhs estimates that over the next decade, drug prices will rise 6. 3 percent each year, while other health - care costs will rise 5. 5 percent. Basic economic principles suggest that drug prices should be going down, not up: For most drugs, manufacturing volumes are increasing, and little new research is being conducted on those already on the market. Reducing these high drug prices has become a major political important rare bipartisan cause for Democrats and Republicans to rally around, albeit with disagreement about how to actually get IT done In his State of Union address last month, President Donald Trump called price discrepancy between the United States and other countries unacceptable and unfair, and vowed to stop IT fast. In Senate Finance Committee hearing on Drug Pricing a few weeks later, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon compared the way drugmaker AbbVie protects exclusivity of one of its drugs to the way Gollum protected his ring.
The investment is a sound one: Doctors prescribe new drugs that are featured in direct - to - consumer advertising nine times more than drugs that are not marketed publicly. This is because patients sometimes demand to be given drugs they 've seen in commercials, but also because some doctors receive handsome bonuses for promoting medications from certain manufacturers. 4. The Wall Street Journal created an interactive graphic that shows how companies reward doctors and by how much in just four months between August and December 2013:. Promotional talks and honoraria: 228. 1 million. Travel, lodging, and entertainment: 95. 9 million. Food and drinks: 92. 8 million 5. One of the results of this spending avalanche is that pharmaceutical companies are seen and heard everywhere in the public sphere. It true, write Washington Post, drug companies are bombarding your TV with more ads than ever. Thanks to Federal rules allowing drug companies to advertise directly to consumers, and economic recovery after the Great Recession, pharmaceutical corporations have enjoyed their time in the sun. In 2014, television accounted for 61. 6 percent of company direct - to - consumer Advertising revenue.
Another example comes from New Jersey, home to many giants of the pharmaceutical industry. One of them is Endo Pharmaceuticals, which was sued by the Federal Trade Commission in 2016 for illegally blocking production of lower - costing generic versions of their drugs, Opana ER and Lidoderm. In Garden State, elderly and disabled residents are more likely to be prescribed brand - name drugs over basic generic drugs than in any other state in the country. The national average of brand - name prescriptions is 21. 2, but that figure shot up to 28 percent in New Jersey, figure representative of what local doctors have called wasteful overprescribing. Scientific American explains that the difference is not so much to do with chemical composition or quality of brand - name and generic drugs, but how they are regulated and price. Brand - name drugs are obviously much more expensive than generics, even though generics can have acceptably similar effects on patients. Professor and head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at University of Connecticut, per Huffington Post, strongly recommend that patients choose generic medications over brand - name products if possible, since they almost always work as well and can save people a lot of money. 18. However, companies that produce generic drugs often do not have the financial influence and spending power of bigger pharmaceutical companies that produce brand - name drugs. 19 This, despite the FDA stating that nearly 80 percent of prescriptions filled in the United States are for Generic Drugs, hinting at unimaginable sway Big Pharma companies have over that market. 20. With so much of the pharmaceutical industry house in New Jersey, doctors there are exposed to a great deal more of sway and leverage that Big Pharma can exert, leading to doctors eagerly writing prescriptions for brand - name drugs and receiving lavish bonuses for their efforts, sometimes in the form of free food and beverages, and other times in form of private stadium suites at sporting events and dinner at five - star restaurants.
It is no secret that the Trump Administration has fostered a culture of corruption in which special interests and big donors advance their interests at the expense of everyday people. Perhaps no policy area exemplifies this corruption more than the issue of Drug Pricing. President Trump has long promised to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry and lower prescription drug prices, but he has avoided taking serious action to drive down prices while at the same time filling top spots in his Administration with industry insiders. This Administration culture of corruption, which continues decadeslong practice of political pandering to the pharmaceutical industry, carries real cost; Americans spent 535 billion 1 on prescription drugs in 2018, increase of 50 percent since 2010. These price increases far surpass inflation, with Big Pharma increasing prices on its most - prescribe medications by anywhere from 40 percent to 71 percent from 2011 to 2015. 2. Moreover, pharmaceutical companies receive substantial US Government assistance in form of publicly funded basic research and tax breaks, yet they continue to charge exorbitant prices for medications. But the issue goes beyond cost. In America, more than 1 million individuals suffer from Type 1 Diabetes 3, condition where the body cannot make insulin, which is essential for getting glucose into cells from the bloodstream. Without insulin, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream 4, causing dangerously high blood sugar levels. Among all Americans suffering from Diabetes, at least 1 in 4 5 have said that they engage in insulin rationinga, tactic of using less insulin than is needed in order to make doses last longer, direct result of the skyrocketing price of drugs. Vial of insulin, which is only life - sustaining option for Type 1 diabetics, retails at around 300. 6 2018 study commissioned by Congressional Diabetes Caucus found that the price of ofinsulin has doubled since 2012. In 10 years prior, price of insulin has nearly triple. Despite the dangers of insulin rationing, which can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, fatal condition, many Americans have no other choice. That was the case forAntroinette 8, whose daughter was rationing insulin due to the high cost and died at the age of 22 as a result.
Drive by literally billions of dollars worth of research and advertising, modern healthcare system seems stuck between those who want to legitimately advance medicine and those who want a piece of the very rich pie. Writing about 1. 4 billion settlement that Eli Lilly reached with the federal government, ProPublica notes that sales representatives acting on behalf of company encourage physicians to promote off - label uses of Zyprexa Drug. Since such uses are not approved by regulates like the Food and Drug Administration, sales reps and doctors who did what they were told were in violation of federal law. 28. Lawsuits from whistleblowers usually disgruntle former sales representatives, fed up with cutthroat business practices, have highlighted other dishonest practices from companies in the pharmaceutical industry. For example, Allergan, manufacturers of Botox, hosted over 200 doctors at an oceanfront resort in California who were paid 1 500 to do nothing but listen to presentations. Allergan agreed to a government settlement of 600 million and offered a misdemeanor guilty plea for misbranding Botox. 29. Elsewhere, sales representatives of Forest Laboratories lean on doctors to prescribe Celexa and Lexapro under guise of participating in a program where they would merely observe doctors who, in turn, were paid up to 1 000 each for their participation. Subsidiary of Forest Laboratories plead guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges, and the company itself paid 313 million in combined criminal and civil penalties.
Pfizer was fin 2. 3 billion, then the largest health care fraud settlement and the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the United States. Pfizer plead guilty to misbranding painkiller Bextra with intent to defraud or mislead, promoting a drug to treat acute pain at dosages FDA had previously deemed dangerously high. Bextra was pulled from the market in 2005 due to safety concerns. The government alleges that Pfizer also promoted three other drugs illegally: antipsychotic Geodon, antibiotic Zyvox, and antiepileptic drug Lyrica. Merck agreed to pay a fine of 950 million related to illegal promotion of painkiller Vioxx, which was withdrawn from the market in 2004 after studies found the drug increased the risk of heart attacks. Companies plead guilty to having promoted Vioxx as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis before it had been approved for that use. The settlement also resolves allegations that Merck made false or misleading statements about drug heart safety to increase sales. Glaxosmithkline agreed to pay a fine of 3 billion to resolve Civil and Criminal liabilities regarding its promotion of drugs, as well as its failure to report safety data. This is the largest health care fraud settlement in the United States to date. Companies plead guilty to misbranding the drug Paxil for treating depression in patients under 18, even though the drug had never been approved for that age group. Glaxosmithkline also plead guilty to failing to disclose safety information about the diabetes drug Avandia to the FDA. Sanofi - Aventis agreed to pay 109 million to resolve allegations that the company gave doctors free units of Hyalgan to encourage those doctors to buy their product. Sanofi lowers the effective price by promising these free samples to doctors, but at the same time gets inflated prices from government programs by submitting False price Reports, allege United States. Medicare and other government health care programs pay millions of dollars in kickback - taint claims for Hyalgan, according to the DOJ announcement. Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay 2. 2 billion fine to resolve Criminal and Civil allegations relating to prescription drugs Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor. Government allege that J & J promoted these drugs for uses not approved as safe and effective by the FDA, targeted elderly dementia patients in nursing homes, and pay kickbacks to physicians and to the nation's largest long - term care pharmacy provider, Omnicare Inc. As part of the agreement, Johnson & Johnson admit that it promote Risperdal for Treatment of psychotic symptoms in non - schizophrenic patients, although Drug was approve only to treat schizophrenia. Eli Lilly was fin 1. 42 billion to resolve government investigation into off - label promotion of antipsychotic Zyprexa. Zyprexa had been approved for treatment of certain psychotic disorders, but Lilly admitted to promoting the drug in elderly populations to treat dementia. The government also alleges that Lilly targets primary care physicians to promote Zyprexa for Unapproved Uses and trains its sales force to disregard the law.
Control DRUGS, WITH their potential for abuse and diversion, can pose public health risks that are different and more problematic thanthose of uncontrolled DRUGS when they are overpromoted and highly prescribe. An in - depth analysis of promotion and marketing of OxyContin, sustain - release oxycodone preparation, illustrates some of the key issues. When Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in 1996, it was aggressively marketed and highly promoted. Sales Grow From 48 million in 1996 to almost 1. 1 billion in 2000. 1 high availability of OxyContin correlated with increased abuse, diversion, and addiction, and by 2004, OxyContin had become the leading Drug of Abuse in the United States. 2. Under current regulations, Food and Drug Administration is limited in its oversight of marketing and promotion of Control DRUGS. However, fundamental changes in promotion and marketing of Control DRUGS by the Pharmaceutical industry, and the enhanced capacity of FDA to regulate and monitor such promotion, can positively affect public health. Oxycontin's commercial success does not depend on the merits of drugs compared to other available opioid preparations. Medical Letter on DRUGS and Therapeutics concluded in 2001 that oxycodone offers no advantage over appropriate doses of other potent opioids. 3 randomized double - blind studies comparing OxyContin given every 12 hours WITH immediate - release oxycodone given 4 times daily show comparable efficacy and safety for use WITH chronic back Pain 4 and cancer - related Pain. 5 of 6 randomized double - blind studies that compared OxyContin with CONTROLLED - release morphine for cancer - related Pain also found comparable efficacy and safety. 7 9 FDA Medical review officer, in evaluating the efficacy of OxyContin in Purdue's 1995 New Drug application, concluded that OxyContin had not been shown to have significant advantage over conventional, immediate - release oxycodone take 4 times daily other than reduction in frequency of dosing. 10 in review of Medical literature, Chou et al. Make similar conclusions. 11. Promotion and marketing of OxyContin occur during the recent trend in liberalization of use of opioids in Treatment of Pain, particularly for chronic noncancer - related pain. Purdue is pursuing an aggressive campaign to promote use of opioids in general and OxyContin in particular. 1 12 17 in 2001 alone, company spent 200 million on on array of approaches to market and promote OxyContin.
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