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Pharmaceutical Corruption News Articles
Excerpts of Key Pharmaceutical Corruption News Articles in Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important pharmaceutical corruption news articles from the major media suggesting a cover-up. Links are provided to the full news articles for verification. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These pharmaceutical corruption news articles are listed by order of importance. You can also explore the articles listed by order of the date of the news article or by the date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on dozens of engaging topics. And read excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


AIDS Drug Maker to Pay $704M in Settlement
2005-10-17, ABC/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=1223871

Serono Laboratories agreed Monday to pay $704 million and plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges that it increased the market for the AIDS drug Serostim by offering kickbacks to doctors and manipulating a test for AIDS patients. Eighty-five percent of prescriptions written for Serostim, accounting for roughly $615 million in sales, were unnecessary. The cost of many of those prescriptions, $21,000 for 12 weeks of treatment, was paid by Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor, and other government insurance plans. Serono offered doctors free trips to the south of France in return for agreeing to write up to 30 new prescriptions for Serostim. The company also conspired to introduce a test for AIDS wasting, despite not having FDA approval. The test diagnosed AIDS wasting even without weight loss. Monday's settlement is the latest in a series of whistleblower claims that have resulted in more than $3 billion in payments from drug companies in recent years.

Note: For lots more on this vital topic: http://www.WantToKnow.info/healthcoverup


The Truth About the Drug Companies (Book Review)
2004-07-15, New York Review of Books
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17244

The combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses put together ($33.7 billion). Over the past two decades the pharmaceutical industry has moved very far from its original high purpose of discovering and producing useful new drugs. Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, this industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the FDA, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself. The great majority of "new" drugs are not new at all but merely variations of older drugs already on the market. Of the 78 drugs approved by the FDA in 2002, only 17 contained new active ingredients, and only seven of these were classified by the FDA as improvements over older drugs. [The] market would collapse virtually overnight if the FDA made approval of new drugs contingent on their being better in some important way than older drugs already on the market. Many medical schools and teaching hospitals set up "technology transfer" offices to ... capitalize on faculty discoveries. Medical school faculty entered into ... lucrative financial arrangements with drug companies, as did their parent institutions. One of the results has been a growing pro-industry bias in medical research—exactly where such bias doesn't belong. The industry ... fought the state of Maine all the way to the US Supreme Court, which in 2003 upheld Maine's right to bargain with drug companies for lower prices. This industry is taking us for a ride, and there will be no real reform without an aroused and determined public to make it happen.

Note: The above book and book review was written by Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor in chief of the prestigious The New England Journal of Medicine. For more reliable information on the health cover-up, click here.


When Good Drugs Do Harm
2001-01-08, Los Angeles Times
http://articles.latimes.com/2001/jan/08/health/he-9609

Adverse drug reactions have reached epidemic proportions, killing more people each year than die on the nation's highways, and doing serious damage to millions more. This problem has taken on special significance recently: The FDA has pulled 10 drugs off the market in the past three years for safety reasons, which is unprecedented in the agency's history. Nearly 20 million patients, almost 10% of the U.S. population, were estimated to have been exposed to these drugs before their removal. Few people, however, are aware that their medications could be harmful, or know how to spot the warning signs and what to do if they suspect there's a problem. Yet a 1998 University of Toronto study found that roughly 100,000 Americans die of adverse drug reactions each year, and 2.1 million more are hospitalized. The FDA received reports of more than 258,000 adverse drug events in 1999, nearly quadruple the 68,000 incidents reported a decade earlier. And FDA officials acknowledge that they're catching only a tiny fraction of these incidents. More new therapies are being sold first in the United States, rather than in Europe and Asia. In the early 1980s, only 2% to 3% of new drugs were introduced in the United States. By 1998, that number climbed to more than 60%, according to FDA officials, largely due to faster approvals by the agency. Aggressive marketing of new drugs can exacerbate the problem by persuading doctors and patients to seek out the latest therapies more quickly. And it's not just newer drugs that can be dangerous.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.


Why Can’t Drug Costs be Reined In?
2016-05-19, Time Magazine
http://time.com/4341416/why-cant-drug-costs-be-reined-in/

When the price of the blood-pressure drug Nitropress leaped from $215 to $881 last year, an increase of 300%, it triggered public outrage. [Drug maker] Valeant Pharmaceuticals International ... would buy patents for unique, lifesaving drugs, hike their prices and then watch the profits roll in. In the wake of the Valeant pricing scandal ... congressional and media investigations have revealed that the embattled company’s business model is hardly unique. In a memo from Oct. 16, 2015 ... the global investment bank Canaccord Genuity wrote that the price increases were not out of the ordinary. In a report from the same day, BMO Capital Markets reiterated that Valeant’s tactics were a “common industry practice” and that “at least 14 different pharmaceutical companies, excluding Valeant,” had made similar price hikes in recent years. The drug industry boasts some of the biggest profits of any industry. Wall Street investors have swooned over the sector. From 2012 to the middle of 2015, more than $50 billion in new capital poured into the industry. That influx of cash shifted the character of the industry. Instead of focusing on time-consuming R&D, drug companies began worrying more about delivering short-term gains to shareholders. For 20 of the biggest drug companies, 80% of shareholder earnings in 2014 were the result of price hikes. [The] industry ... spends more on lobbying than any other industry in the country.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Rattled by drug price increases, hospitals seek ways to stay on guard
2016-03-13, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/rattled-by-drug-price-...

Doctors at the University Hospitals of Cleveland see an immediately recognizable symbol pop up alongside certain drugs when they sign in online these days to prescribe medications for patients: $$$$$. The dollar signs, affixed by hospital administrators, carry a not-so-subtle message: Think twice before using this drug. Pick an alternative if possible. The ... approach is just one of the strategies hospitals nationwide are using to try to counter drug costs. The increases often involved brand-name drugs with little or no competition as well as commonly used generics around for decades. Among those tagged were Nitropress and Isuprel, injectable heart medications that are a staple at many hospitals. Their 2015 list prices rose more than 200 percent and 500 percent, respectively. Hospital officials around the United States point to similar experiences, saying their predicament illustrates one dimension of a broken prescription-drug system. A recent Bloomberg Business survey of about 3,000 brand-name prescription drugs found that prices had more than doubled for 60 medications since December 2014 and at least quadrupled for 20. Prices for many other drugs continued to rise at 10 percent or more annually. “The patient doesn’t initially see the price increase,” said Scott Knoer, chief pharmacy officer at the Cleveland Clinic. “But it raises the cost for the hospital. Eventually, it catches up and it raises the cost for insurance companies, which is passed on to employers, employees and taxpayers.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Drug Distribution Becomes Weapon to Block Competition
2016-03-03, ABC/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/drug-distribution-weapon-block-compe...

The same strategy that Martin Shkreli used to get away with a 5,000-percent price increase on an old drug is used by many other drugmakers. Before the price hike that made him infamous, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals had to ensure that no competitor would be able to launch a cheaper version of Daraprim, the 60-year-old anti-infection pill that is no longer under patent. Shkreli had the perfect weapon: a tightly-controlled distribution system which would make it virtually impossible for a competitor to obtain enough Daraprim to develop their own version. Many larger drugmakers have also turned drug distribution into a powerful tool against competition. The strategy takes advantage of a simple fact: If generic drugmakers can't get their hands on the original product, they cannot perform the tests needed to develop a generic version. When the original drugmaker controls the drug's distribution, they can simply refuse to sell. The effect on patients is higher prices for drugs. At least 40 drugs worth an estimated $5.4 billion are sheltered from competition by distribution hurdles, according to a study commissioned by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, an industry trade group. The Food and Drug Administration is aware of the misuse of distribution programs. The agency does not penalize companies for the practice.

Note: For more excellent information on drug prices hikes, read this penetrating article in the Daily Beast. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Pricey hepatitis C drugs threaten health care system
2016-01-11, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Pricey-hepatitis-C-drugs...

When does Big Pharma profiting become profiteering? This issue was the subject last month of a Senate Finance Committee investigation of pricing practices of Gilead Sciences Inc., a leading provider of hepatitis C medications. After examining 20,000 pages of internal company documents, looking at Medicaid data and interviewing health care experts, the authors concluded that the Foster City drugmaker “pursued a calculated scheme for pricing and marketing its hepatitis C drug based on one goal: maximizing revenue regardless of the human consequences.” With the hepatitis C virus affecting about 3 million people in the United States, the impact of Gilead’s pricing strategy is real, measurable - and devastating. With a 12-week course of Gilead’s Harvoni priced at nearly $100,000, taxpayer-funded Medicare Part D spent $4.6 billion on hepatitis C alone in the first half of 2015. When insurers refuse to pay for treatment, all but the wealthy are left at risk for cirrhosis, liver cancer and death. While anticipating record profits of $30 billion in 2015, Gilead virtually eliminated its medication assistance program. More than 90 percent of hepatitis C patients can achieve a cure with as little as one pill a day. But to realistically address this epidemic at current pricing levels would bankrupt our health care system. Pharmaceutical innovation holds great promise for the future of our health care system. But not if none of us can afford it.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma profiteering. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.


Doctors' group calls for ban on prescription drug ads
2015-11-17, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/doctors-group-calls-for-ban-on-drug-ads/

The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for a ban on direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices, saying they contribute to rising costs and patients' demands for inappropriate treatment. Delegates at the influential group's policy-making meeting in Atlanta voted to adopt that as official policy as part of an AMA effort to make prescription drugs more affordable. It means AMA will lobby for a ban. "Today's vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member. According to data cited in an AMA news release, ad dollars spent by drugmakers have risen to $4.5 billion in the last two years, a 30 percent increase. Other data show prices on prescription drugs have climbed nearly 5 percent this year, Harris said in the news release. She also raised concern that advertising spurs use of newer brand-name drugs when other possibly lower-cost options might be just as good. "Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate." The pharmaceutical industry opposes the AMA's stance.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.


The life-saving pill ‘pharma bro’ increased to $750 now has a $1 competitor
2015-10-23, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/10/23/the-life-sav...

Turing Pharmaceuticals chief executive Martin Shkreli found himself in the middle of a media firestorm last month as he adamantly defended his company's 4,000 percent drug price hike. Daraprim, which treats a life-threatening infection in patients with HIV/AIDS and other immune problems, was increased to $750 a pill, a move resoundingly decried. Now, another company will offer a Daraprim alternative, at just $1 a pill. It's not an exact replica of Daraprim. San Diego-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday that it is selling pills containing a "customizable compounded formulation" of pyrimethamine and leucovorin, both ingredients in Daraprim. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't approve compounded drugs, such as this one offered by Imprimis. Typically, compounded drugs are prescribed to patients who can't take FDA-approved drugs, such as for those who are allergic to an inactive ingredient. Compounded drugs are no stranger to controversy; a compounding pharmacy was at the heart of a deadly meningitis outbreak in 2012 that killed 64 people and sickened more than 600. Federal legislators subsequently tightened regulations over such companies. And compounded drugs can be very pricey, too. But it appears the Daraprim alternative compound was not born out of a physical inability to use Daraprim, but a financial one.

Note: Read more about Turing Pharmaceuticals' outrageous Daraprim price-hike. Those in charge of the compounding pharmacy mentioned above were charged with homicide, but when a meningitis outbreak killed 11 children in an illegal Nigerian drug trial conducted by Pfizer, no one at Pfizer was charged with a crime. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma corruption.


Valeant Pharmaceuticals' drug price hikes in crosshairs of U.S. Congress
2015-09-29, CBC News (Canada's public broadcasting system)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/valeant-pharmaceuticals-price-hikes-1.3248265

Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceutical's price hikes of drugs long off patent has raised the ire of U.S. legislators and frustrated Canadian physicians. Democrats on the House of Representatives committee on oversight and government reform sent a letter Monday to the committee's Republican chairman seeking a subpoena that would force Valeant to turn over documents tied to the U.S. price hikes of two heart drugs. In the U.S., the price of Isuprel or Isoprenaline increased 2,500 per cent and Nitropress went up 1,700 per cent in three years, as the drug changed hands. Valeant purchased the rights to both heart drugs from Marathon Pharmaceuticals in February. As huge overnight drug price hikes becomes an election issue in the U.S., some doctors in Canada struggle to get other prices rolled back. In late 2013, Valeant Canada announced that as of January 2014, the price of a one-month supply of Syprine would match the U.S. price of roughly $13,244, or about 13 times higher than the previous price. The medication makes the difference between a full and productive life or a downward course of increasing liver and neurological disease. For physicians, the price increase put them in the position of having to tell patients their disease can be managed or cured but at an out-of-pocket price of $200,000 a year for the rest of their lives.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Cancer patients may need better prep for chemo side-effects
2015-09-18, CBC/Reuters
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/cancer-patients-may-need-better-prep-for-chemo-...

Cancer patients need to be prepared for serious side effects from chemotherapy, and hospitalization is one that happens much more often in the real world than in drug trials, according to a new study. Researchers found that people with advanced lung cancer receiving chemotherapy in real-world settings were almost eight times more likely to be hospitalized during treatment than those participating in clinical trials. What's more, very few clinical trials even report how often participants are hospitalized during the research, the study authors found. "Clinical trials should be routinely reporting their hospitalization rates so we know what to expect," said senior author Dr. Monika Krzyzanowska, a medical oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto, Canada. Krzyzanowska and her colleagues write in JAMA Oncology that the number of times a person goes to the hospital with treatment complications is important to the patient and to the hospital. The researchers suggest several possible explanations for the differences in hospitalization rates. First, the patients in highly selective clinical trials are different from real-world patients. In this study, people receiving chemotherapy in real-world settings were also older, on average, than those in clinical trials.

Note: While big pharma profits from hiding the negative effects of their drugs, there is some promising cancer research underway, some of which is being suppressed to keep the cash cow flowing for big pharma.


Merck accused of stonewalling in mumps vaccine antitrust lawsuit
2015-06-04, Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/health-vaccine-idUSL1N0YQ0W820150604

Two former Merck & Co Inc scientists accusing the drugmaker of falsifying tests of its exclusive mumps vaccine said in a court filing on Monday that Merck is refusing to respond to questions about the efficacy of the vaccine. Attorneys ... who represent the scientists asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Lynne Sitarski of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to compel Merck to respond to their discovery request, which asks the company to give the efficacy of the vaccine as a percentage. Instead of answering the question, the letter said, Merck has been consistently evasive ... saying it cannot run a new clinical trial to determine the current efficacy, and providing only data from 50 years ago. The two scientists, Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, filed their whistleblower lawsuit in 2010 claiming Merck, the only company licensed by the Food and Drug Administration to sell a mumps vaccine in the United States, skewed tests of the vaccine by adding animal antibodies to blood samples. As a result, they said, Merck was able to produce test results showing that the vaccine was 95 percent effective, even though more accurate tests would have shown a lower success rate. The plaintiffs said these false results kept competitors from trying to produce their own mumps vaccines, since they were unable to match the effectiveness Merck claimed.

Note: For more, read this excellent mercola.com article revealing how a single vaccine can bring in $6 billion in revenue to one company. Read in a CNN report that all 40 Harvard students who recently came down with the mumps had been vaccinated against the disease. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Ebola Contracts Worth $2 Billion Could Benefit Drugmakers
2014-11-10, Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-10/ebola-contracts-worth-2-billion-coul...

Drugmakers including Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Emergent Biosolutions Inc. (EBS) are among companies standing to gain from what may be $2 billion in U.S. contracts related to Ebola. President Barack Obama asked Congress last week for $6.2 billion in emergency funding to stop the spread of the virus that has killed more than 4,800 people in West Africa. The request is heavily focused on health needs as opposed to prior funding that was largely centered on defense contracts, Brian Friel, a Bloomberg Intelligence contracts analyst, said. Friel said he expects multiple drugmakers involved in Ebola will share in what will likely be no-bid contract awards to “make everyone happy.” His $2 billion estimate is based on the percentage of its budget the Department of Health and Human Services spent on contracts last year. Little information is available yet about which companies are getting Ebola-related public funding. Congress has approved $838 million in Ebola money this year, resulting in $77 million in contracts so far. Not all awards have been made public. The U.S. has spent more than $400 million as of Oct. 24.

Note: Read this webpage which lays bare the gross profiteering by pharmaceuticals on pandemics like ebola as reported in the mainstream media.


Robert B. Reich: Why we allow Big Pharma to rip us off
2014-10-07, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201410071030--tms--amvoices...

America spends a fortune on drugs, more per person than any other nation on earth, even though Americans are no healthier than the citizens of other advanced nations. Of the estimated $2.7 trillion America spends annually on health care, drugs account for 10 percent of the total. Government pays some of this tab through Medicare, Medicaid and subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. But we pick up the tab indirectly through our taxes. We pay the rest of it directly, through higher co-payments, deductibles and premiums. Drug company payments to doctors are a small part of a much larger strategy by Big Pharma to clean our pockets ... The drug companies say they need the additional profits to pay for researching and developing new drugs. But the government supplies much of the research Big Pharma relies on, through the National Institutes of Health. Meanwhile, Big Pharma is spending more on advertising and marketing than on research and development -- often tens of millions to promote a single drug. And it's spending hundreds of millions more every year on lobbying. Last year alone, the lobbying tab came to $225 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's more than the formidable lobbying expenditures of America's military contractors. In addition, Big Pharma is spending heavily on political campaigns. In 2012, it shelled out over $36 million, making it the biggest political contributor of all American industries.

Note: Read how cancer research is crippled by the greed of drug companies in the New York Times article Profits Over Patients. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why do two white Americans get the Ebola serum while hundreds of Africans die?
2014-08-06, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/08/06/why-do-two-white-a...

What should happen if a massive viral outbreak appears out of nowhere and the only possible treatment is an untested drug? And who should receive it? The two American missionaries who contracted the almost-always-fatal virus in West Africa were given access to an experimental drug cocktail called ZMapp. It consists of immune-boosting monoclonal antibodies that were extracted from mice exposed to bits of Ebola DNA. Now in isolation at an Atlanta hospital, they appear to be doing well. It’s an opportunity the 900 Africans who’ve died so far never had. The reasons for different treatment are partly about logistics, partly about economics and, partly about a lack of any standard policy for giving out untested drugs in emergencies. Before this outbreak, ZMapp had only been tested on monkeys. But privileged humans were always going to be the first ones to try it. ZMapp requires a lot of refrigeration and careful handling, plus close monitoring by experienced doctors and scientists—better to try it at a big urban hospital than in rural West Africa, where no such infrastructure exists. And the two Americans who got it in Africa had been infected for more than a week, making its efficacy completely unknown.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Ebola virus: British experts urge US and WHO to ‘give Africans cure’
2014-08-06, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ebola-outbreak-british-experts...

Three of Britain’s leading Ebola specialists have said experimental treatments for the deadly Ebola virus must be offered to the people of West Africa, after two US aid workers were administered with the “cure” in Liberia. The two missionaries, Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, are alive and now being cared for at a specialist isolation unit in Atlanta. Though the pair remain weak – and there is no way of knowing at this stage how much of a help the new drug has actually been – the fact that it was given to the two Americans has resulted in widespread criticism and recriminations in West Africa. Almost 900 people have died from the Ebola virus across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the latest outbreak began in February this year. Some strains can have fatality rates of up to 90 per cent, though that of the current crisis appears to be around 60 per cent. Now Peter Piot, who discovered Ebola in 1976, David Heymann, the director of the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security and Jeremy Farrar from the Wellcome Trust have said there are in fact several drugs and vaccines under study that could be used to combat the disease. Liberia’s assistant health minister, Tolbert Nyenswah, said that the news of Dr Brantly and Ms Writebol’s treatment had “made our job very difficult” as dying patients and their relatives in Africa request the same “cure”. The US aid workers were given ZMapp, a drug made from antibodies produced in a lab that has never gone through human trials or been approved by the US’s FDA Food and Drug Administration. Piot, Farrar and Heymann questioned why Africans were not being given the same chance.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Data uncover nation’s top Medicare billers
2014-04-06, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/data-uncover-nations-top-medic...

The Medicare program is the source of a small fortune for many U.S. doctors, according to a trove of government records that reveal unprecedented details about physician billing practices nationwide. The government insurance program for older people paid nearly 4,000 physicians in excess of $1 million each in 2012, according to the new data. The release of the information gives the public access for the first time to the billing practices of individual doctors nationwide. Consumer groups and news outlets have pressured Medicare to release the data for years. The American Medical Association and other physician groups have resisted the data release, arguing that the information violates doctor privacy and that the public may misconstrue details about individual doctors. Among the highest billers were: a cardiologist in Ocala, Fla., who took in $18.1 million, mainly putting in stents; a New Jersey pathologist who received $12.6 million performing tissue exams and other tests; and a Michigan vascular surgeon who got $10.1 million. In some instances, the extremely high billing totals could signal fraudulent doctor behavior, as government inspectors have previously found. Indeed, three of the top 10 earners already had drawn scrutiny from the federal government, and one of them is awaiting trial on federal fraud charges. The greatest tallies also may signal that the Medicare payments for some procedures are too high for the amount of work involved or that perverse incentives lead doctors to overuse a procedure. The specialties most common at the top ranks of the Medicare payments were ophthalmologists, oncologists and pathologists.

Note: For more on medical corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Why Our Health Care Lets Prices Run Wild
2013-07-01, Time Magazine
http://swampland.time.com/2013/07/01/why-our-health-care-lets-prices-run-wild/

Of all the oddities of the U.S. health care system, one stands out: we spend far more on health care per person than other industrialized nations yet have no better health outcomes. Understanding why isn’t easy. A 2012 paper by the Commonwealth Fund found that among 13 industrialized countries studied, the U.S. has the highest rate of obesity, which is usually a factor in higher health care costs. Yet, the U.S. ranks far behind many other countries in our rates of citizens who smoke or are over 55, two other strong indicators of increased spending. So why is our health care spending more than 17% of our gross domestic product, far more than any other country? A central reason U.S. health care spending is so high is that hospitals and doctors charge more for their services and there’s little transparency about why. There is no uniformity to the system, in which public and private insurers have separate, unrelated contracts with hospitals and doctors. The result is a tangled, confusing and largely secretive collection of forces driving health care prices higher and higher. This isn’t possible in many other countries either because governments set prices for health care services or broker negotiations between coalitions of insurers and providers. Known as “all-payer rate setting,” insurers in these systems band together to negotiate as groups. In contrast, U.S. insurers closely guard the secrecy of their contracted prices with health care providers and negotiate individually. This is why a hospital hosting five patients for knee replacements might get paid five different amounts for the surgeries.

Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Pharmaceutical scandal: The NHS, the drug firms and the price racket
2013-06-20, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10133557/Pharmaceutical-scandal-...

Drug companies face accusations of secretly colluding with pharmacists to overcharge the NHS millions of pounds, following an undercover investigation by The Telegraph. Pharmaceutical firms appear to have rigged the market in so-called "specials" – prescription drugs that are largely not covered by national NHS price regulations. The prices of more than 20,000 drugs could have been artificially inflated, with backhanders paid to chemists who agreed to sell them. Representatives of some companies agreed to invoice chemists for drugs at up to double their actual cost. Chemists would then send inflated invoices to the NHS, allowing them to pocket the difference. Tens of thousands of the "special" drugs are not on the nationally controlled NHS price list and so costs can be manipulated by drug companies. Sales representatives for drug firms were secretly recorded by this newspaper offering to provide apparently falsified invoices allowing chemists to bill the NHS for sums far greater than they would spend. Another firm offered to pay an annual fee to chemists who agreed to offer its prescription drugs. Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money are feared to have been wasted in recent years due to the practice. The undercover investigation was launched after this newspaper was approached by a whistle-blower who alleged widespread malpractice. Undercover reporters posed as investors hoping to set up a chain of chemists.

Note: Watch the incriminating videos of these undercover deals at the link above. For more on pharmaceutical corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


An End to Medical-Billing Secrecy?
2013-05-08, Time Magazine
http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/08/an-end-to-medical-billing-secrecy/

Acting on the suggestion of her top data crunchers at the department’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released an enormous data file on May 8 that reveals the list—or “chargemaster”—prices of all hospitals across the country for the 100 most common inpatient treatment services in 2011. It then compares those prices with what Medicare actually paid hospitals for the same treatments—which was typically a fraction of the chargemaster prices. As a result, Americans are a big step closer to being able to compare what hospitals charge them for goods and services with what they actually cost. There are two reasons Sebelius’ release of this newly crunched, massive data file is a great first step toward a new transparency in health care costs. First, it reveals the vast disparity between what hospitals charge for pills, procedures and operations and the real cost of those services, as calculated by Medicare. The second reason the compilation and release of this data is a big deal is that it demonstrates [that] most hospitals’ chargemaster prices are wildly inconsistent and seem to have no rationale. Thus the release of this fire hose of data—which prints out at 17,511 pages—should become a tip sheet for reporters in every American city and town, who can now ask hospitals to explain their pricing. In the through-the-looking-glass world of health care economics, those who are asked to pay chargemaster rates are often under-insured or lack insurance altogether. Moreover, insurers typically negotiate discounts off the grossly inflated chargemaster prices ($77 for a box of gauze pads!), so the chargemaster matters for insured patients too.

Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


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