Pharmaceutical Corruption Media Articles
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable news media sources. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.
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Why have so many smart, well-trained doctors stood by as American healthcare descended into a state of profound dysfunction? The answer lies in the gradual, nearly invisible commercial takeover of the medical “knowledge” that doctors are trained to trust. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan slashed government support of university-based medical research. Following the 1980 passage of the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act, nonprofit institutions and their researchers were allowed to benefit financially from the discoveries made while conducting federally funded research. Over the past few decades, the drug companies have taken over most of our clinical research. In 1991, academic medical centers (AMCs)—hospitals that train doctors and conduct medical research—received 80 percent of the money that industry was spending to fund clinical trials. But by 2004, the percentage of commercially funded clinical trials conducted by AMCs had fallen from 80 to just 26 percent. That ... allowed the commercial funder to own, and thus control, the data from jointly conducted research. Unbeknownst to almost all doctors, peer reviewers are not granted access to the underlying data that serves as the basis for the reported findings. The drug companies own that data and keep it confidential. Reviewers must rely on brief data summaries. Peer reviewers at even the most prestigious medical journals cannot possibly attest to the accuracy and completeness of the articles they review.
Jeff Smith, a partner with the influential consulting firm McKinsey & Company, accepted a highly sensitive assignment in December 2017. The opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma ... sought out Dr. Smith. His team reviewed business plans and evaluated new drugs that Purdue hoped would help move the company beyond the turmoil associated with OxyContin, its addictive painkiller that medical experts say helped to spark the opioid epidemic. But the corporate reorganization was not Dr. Smith’s only assignment. He was also helping the Food and Drug Administration overhaul its office that approves new drugs — the same office that would determine the regulatory fate of Purdue’s new line of proposed products. A review ... of internal McKinsey documents found that the firm repeatedly allowed employees who served pharmaceutical companies, including opioid makers, to also consult for the F.D.A., the drug industry’s primary government regulator. And, the documents show, McKinsey touted that inside access in pitches to private clients. In an email in 2014 to Purdue’s chief executive, a McKinsey consultant highlighted the firm’s work for the F.D.A. and stressed “who we know and what we know.” McKinsey also allowed employees advising Purdue to help shape materials that were intended for government officials and agencies, including a memo in 2018 prepared for Alex M. Azar II. References to the severity of the opioid crisis in a draft version of the memo ... were cut before it was sent to Mr. Azar.
On September 19, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The bill ... would allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare, a right assumed by the governments of every other major economy. Polls showed support ranging from 80 to an eye-popping 90-plus percent. H.R. 3 was delivered stillborn into Mitch McConnell’s Senate in November of 2019. Two years later, when Joe Biden released the massive social-spending and climate-change bill dubbed Build Back Better, H.R. 3’s reforms were nowhere to be found. And at every level of government, Pharma’s endless river of money continues to flow, the widest, steadiest current of lobbying largesse the capitol has ever known. In 2021, the industry reported spending $124 million on a fleet of 846 lobbyists, roughly two for every member of Congress. Sixty-five percent were former government employees. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are part of a larger coalition that includes the insurance, medical-device, and hospital industries. Its combined resources flow downstream through dozens of lobbying firms, communications shops, and front groups. “If a freshman Democrat so much as signs a letter related to drug prices, the lobby hammers them with phone calls and meeting requests, completely locking up the calendar,” says Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works. “The calls come in from ex-Democratic officials and staffers, so they have to take the meetings.”
A foundation representing the vaccine maker BioNTech has been accused of seeking to undermine the World Health Organization’s initiative to bring covid vaccine manufacturing to the African continent. The kENUP Foundation, a consultancy hired by BioNTech, has claimed that WHO’s hub, which is creating a covid-19 mRNA vaccine that African companies can make, is unlikely to be successful and will infringe on patents, documents obtained by The BMJ have shown. Instead, they show kENUP promoting BioNTech’s proposal to ship mRNA factories housed in sea containers from Europe to Africa, initially staffed with BioNTech workers, and a proposed new regulatory pathway to approve the vaccines made in these factories. The novel pathway has been described as paternalistic and unworkable. The move threatens the pan-African venture backed by WHO that seeks to scale up African production of lifesaving vaccines from 1% to 60% by 2040. WHO’s technology transfer hub, launched in June 2021 and based in South Africa, uses publicly available information to recreate Moderna’s vaccine, to teach companies and scientists across the continent how to use mRNA technology. It will then develop a comparable vaccine, which, if successful in clinical trials and approved by regulators, it will manufacture industrially. In a document sent to South African government officials after a visit to the country on 11-14 August last year, the kENUP Foundation said that the hub’s activity should be stopped.
Pfizer made nearly $37bn (£27bn) in sales from its Covid-19 vaccine last year – making it one of the most lucrative products in history – and has forecast another bumper year in 2022, with a big boost coming from its Covid-19 pill Paxlovid. The US drugmaker’s overall revenues in 2021 doubled to $81.3bn. The bumper sales prompted accusations from campaigners of “pandemic profiteering”. The group Global Justice Now said the annual revenue of $81bn was more than the GDP of most countries. Pharmaceutical companies have been accused of not sharing the recipe for their vaccines, which would enable drugmakers in poorer countries to produce cheaper versions of them. Global Justice Now pointed out that Pfizer’s Covid-19 jab was invented by BioNTech, supported by €100m (£84m) in debt financing from the publicly owned European Investment Bank and a €375m grant from the German government. Tim Bierley, a pharma campaigner at the group, said: “The development of mRNA vaccines should have revolutionised the global Covid response. “But we’ve let Pfizer withhold this essential medical innovation from much of the world, all while ripping off public health systems.” According to Reuters, Pfizer has sold the vaccine to African countries at $3 to $10 a shot. It has indicated that a non-profit dose costs just $6.75, or £4.98, to produce, but it has reportedly charged the NHS £18 a dose for the first 100m jabs bought and £22 a dose for the next 89m, totalling £3.76bn ... amounting to an eye-watering 299% mark-up.
Note: If big Pharma really cared about public healthy, don’t you think they’d be willing to sacrifice some of their huge profits and charge much less for their injections? Unfortunately, it’s the old story of the rich get richer and the rest are left behind. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Pfizer Inc wants to intervene in a Texas federal lawsuit seeking information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration used in licensing the company's COVID-19 vaccine, a litigation move that plaintiffs who are suing for the data say is premature. Pfizer's lawyers at DLA Piper told U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman on Jan. 21 it wanted a role in the proceedings to help the FDA avoid "inappropriately" disclosing trade secret and confidential commercial information. On Tuesday night, the group of doctors and scientists who sued last year over public access to the FDA's Pfizer licensing records said in a court filing that the company's bid to jump into the lawsuit was untimely because the plaintiffs have not challenged any redactions to requested records. Earlier this month, the judge ordered a fast-track release of hundreds of thousands of documents, calling the case "of paramount public importance." U.S. government agencies control the release of information under federal public-records laws, but companies can challenge and even sue to block the disclosure of certain details. The FDA earlier drew criticism over its plan to release 500 pages a month in response to the lawsuit from Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency, a production schedule that would take more than 50 years to complete. In its filing, Pfizer said the company supports public disclosure of FDA records "to promote transparency and the public's confidence in the vaccine."
Mark Cuban has opened up a new online pharmacy to help make generic drugs more affordable. The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDC) officially launched last week, claiming to offer the "lowest prices on 100 lifesaving prescriptions, according to a press release. The company is able to offer lower prices because it's a registered pharmaceutical wholesaler, meaning MCCPDC can "bypass middlemen and outrageous markups," per the press release. "The pharmacy's prices reflect actual manufacturer prices plus a flat 15% margin and pharmacist fee," the press release states. The company also "refuses to pay spread prices" to pharmacy benefits managers, which manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers. One of the medications available is Imatinib, a leukemia treatment that has a retail price of $9,657 a month and costs around $120 a month with a common voucher, per the press release. However, the MCCPDC offers a steep discount, making the drug available for $47 per month. Two other notable prescriptions available at a significantly reduced price are Mesalamine, used for ulcerative colitis treatment, as well as gout treatment drug Colchicine. "Not everyone sets the goal of being the lowest cost producer and provider," the billionaire [said]. "My goal is to make a profit while maximizing impact." "We will do whatever it takes to get affordable pharmaceuticals to patients," CEO Alex Oshmyansky said.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In the pages of The BMJ a decade ago, in the middle of a different pandemic, it came to light that governments around the world had spent billions stockpiling antivirals for influenza that had not been shown to reduce the risk of complications, hospital admissions, or death. The errors of the last pandemic are being repeated. Memories are short. Today, despite the global rollout of covid-19 vaccines and treatments, [the] data underlying the trials for these new products remain inaccessible to doctors, researchers, and the public—and are likely to remain that way for years to come. This is morally indefensible for all trials, but especially for those involving major public health interventions. Pfizer’s pivotal covid vaccine trial was funded by the company and designed, run, analysed, and authored by Pfizer employees. The company and the contract research organisations that carried out the trial hold all the data. And Pfizer has indicated that it will not begin entertaining requests for trial data until May 2025, 24 months after the primary study completion date. The lack of access to data is consistent across vaccine manufacturers. Regulators and public health bodies could release details such as why vaccine trials were not designed to test efficacy against infection and spread of SARS-CoV-2. Had regulators insisted on this outcome, countries would have learnt sooner about the effect of vaccines on transmission and been able to plan accordingly.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
After raking in enormous profits from its coronavirus vaccine in 2021, the U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has kicked off the new year by hiking the prices of more than 120 of its drugs, resulting in significantly higher costs for patients amid a deadly pandemic. That's according to a new report released Thursday by Patients for Affordable Drugs (P4AD), which found that pharmaceutical companies have raised the prices of 554 medicines this month alone. Pfizer led the way with 125 price hikes to start 2022, leading P4AD to label the company the industry's "poster child for greed." "Due to sales of its Covid-19 vaccine, which is set to be the best-selling drug of all time, Pfizer shattered profit records in 2021. Projected sales for 2022 are $54.5 billion—more than double the previous record for one-year sales for a prescription drug," the report notes. "To put this into perspective, AbbVie's Humira previously held the spot with $19.8 billion in sales, and Pfizer’s best-selling product just prior to the pandemic achieved worldwide revenues of $5.8 billion." "Despite this record revenue in 2021," the report continues, "Pfizer began 2022 with price hikes on seven of its 10 best-selling drugs," including its pneumonia vaccine (up 6.9%), a breast cancer medication (up 6.9%), and a treatment for people with cardiovascular disease (up 6%). "These hikes of 5% or 6% can translate into thousands of dollars in higher costs for patients," P4AD notes.
Note: See also a Forbes article asking why physicians aren’t challenging outrageous pricing for medical costs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
A federal judge in Texas on Thursday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make public the data it relied on to license Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, imposing a dramatically accelerated schedule that should result in the release of all information within about eight months. That’s roughly 75 years and four months faster than the FDA said it could take to complete a Freedom of Information Act request by a group of doctors and scientists seeking an estimated 450,000 pages of material about the vaccine. The court “concludes that this FOIA request is of paramount public importance,” wrote U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman. The FDA didn’t dispute it had an obligation to make the information public but argued that its short-staffed FOIA office only had the bandwidth to review and release 500 pages a month. While Pittman recognized “the ‘unduly burdensome’ challenges that this FOIA request may present to the FDA,” in his four-page order, he resoundingly rejected the agency’s suggested schedule. Rather than producing 500 pages a month — the FDA's proposed timeline — he ordered the agency to turn over 55,000 a month. That means all the Pfizer vaccine data should be public by the end of the summer rather than, say, the year 2097. Aaron Siri of Siri & Glimstad, who represents the plaintiffs, in an email said the decision "came down on the side of transparency and accountability." His clients ... have pledged to publish all the information they receive from the FDA on their website.
Note: Why did almost no major media pick up this important article? And read this revealing article on 800 individuals who Pfizer reported withdrew from their vaccine studies, some because of health problems which could have been caused by the vaccine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
A journalist writing for The BMJ has won a British Journalism Award for his series on the financial interests of medical experts advising US and UK governments during the covid-19 pandemic. As a result of the articles written by Paul Thacker, an investigative journalist, the financial disclosures of members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) were published for the first time. Thacker’s first story looked at two groups critical to the UK government’s pandemic response—SAGE and the Vaccine Taskforce. He examined both and found that they did not disclose their members’ financial conflicts. Some members were tied to companies with a monetary interest in the government’s purchases. Thacker ... filed freedom of information (FoI) requests with multiple government departments and Oxford University. In a second story he wrote about the government’s repeated refusal to turn over these data. However, the FoI ... revealed that Thacker’s original request was apparently sent to a special government department to handle any reporter considered a “campaigner” or to have “extreme views.” Eventually, the government relented and published the financial conflicts for the members of SAGE. In the final story of the series Thacker looked at the panels that the US and UK governments used to authorize vaccines and revealed that ... disclosure policies were inadequate. Some experts evaluating the vaccines had significant industry ties that were not disclosed.
Note: Read the full text of Thacker’s article titled, “Covid-19: How independent were the US and British vaccine advisory committees?” and another titled “How the case of the Oxford professor exposes a transparency crisis in government.” For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Ministers have agreed [to] a secrecy clause in any dispute with the drugs manufacturer Pfizer over Britain’s Covid vaccine supply. Large portions of the government’s contracts with the company over the supply of 189m vaccine doses have been redacted and any arbitration proceedings will be kept secret. The revelation comes as Pfizer is accused by a former senior US health official of “war profiteering’’ during the pandemic. Tom Frieden, who was director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Barack Obama, said: “If you’re just focusing on maximising your profits and you’re a vaccine manufacturer ... you are war profiteering.” Zain Rizvi, research director at Public Citizen, a US consumer advocacy organisation which has examined Pfizer’s global vaccine contracts, said: “There is a wall of secrecy surrounding these contracts and it’s unacceptable, particularly in a public health crisis.” Rizvi said the UK needed to explain why it had agreed to secret arbitration proceedings. He said: “It’s the only high-income country we have seen that has agreed to this provision. It allows pharmaceutical companies to bypass domestic legal processes.” While AstraZeneca agreed to sell its vaccine at cost during the pandemic, Pfizer wanted to secure its profits. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine ... will be one of the most lucrative drugs in pharmaceutical history. One biological engineering expert [claims] the Pfizer vaccine costs just 76p to manufacture for each shot. It is reportedly being sold for £22 a dose to the UK government.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
A new generation of Covid-19 treatments will soon be available, and they matter more than many people realize. They have the potential to substantially reduce hospitalization and death. In the simplest terms, they can help turn Covid into a more ordinary respiratory disease, similar to the common cold or flu, rather than one that’s killing about 1,000 Americans a day and dominating daily life for millions. Two treatments are on the way — one from Pfizer and one from Merck — and they will have both medical and psychological benefits. Not only can they reduce serious Covid illness, but they can also reduce Covid fears and help society move back to normalcy. Both Pfizer’s and Merck’s treatments are pill regimens that people take for five days after a positive Covid test. The pills prevent the virus from replicating inside the body and are broadly similar to treatments that revolutionized H.I.V. care in the 1990s. In truth, the virus has already been largely defanged. The death rate for vaccinated adults under 50 is virtually zero. Pfizer has projected that it will produce enough doses to treat 20 million people in the first half of next year. The Biden administration has agreed to buy 10 million of the treatments, known as Paxlovid, at a cost of about $530 each. Merck projects that it will produce more than 10 million courses of its drug, called molnupiravir, by the end of this year. The federal government has agreed to buy 3.1 million of those courses for around $700 each.
Note: And thus big Pharma is set to receive another huge windfall. Why are they setting prices so how and raking in huge profits when so many are suffering financially? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
This year, Pfizer expects to bring in $36 billion from worldwide sales of its COVID-19 vaccine. That would shatter the previous record in annual sales for a single pharmaceutical product - about $20 billion for the anti-inflammatory drug Humira - and make the Pfizer vaccine the bestselling pharmaceutical product ever. Moderna will deliver fewer doses but is still expecting up to $18 billion in sales for the year for its COVID-19 vaccine. Humira, has been ... churning out tens of billions of dollars a year for multiple years on end. And it's not entirely clear that the mRNA vaccines will do that. Just because Pfizer and Moderna are selling billions of doses now doesn't mean that will last forever. The vaccines could work so well they eliminate the need for further boosters, though it's also possible COVID shots could become routine, like flu shots. The uncertainty puts a premium on maximizing sales now. Any vaccine manufacturer is going to realize that there's a risk that they're going to have a very short lifecycle. Moderna got a lot of government funding, offsetting costs and minimizing risks. But the COVID-19 vaccine is its only product on the market. Pfizer, on the other hand, didn't accept early government investment and took on a lot of those upfront costs itself. But it has dozens of other products in its portfolio that it makes and will continue to make once the pandemic ends.
Lowering prescription drug prices is among the Biden administration's most urgent priorities. But the drug industry is spending big to keep that from happening. A new compromise on Capitol Hill would offer some relief from high prices by gradually allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices similar to private insurers for the first time, while capping out of pocket costs at $2,000 and setting limits on the cost of insulin. The pharmaceutical industry has spent nearly $263 million on lobbying so far this year, employing three lobbyists for every member of Congress, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks money in politics. Millions of those dollars are in the form of campaign donations. "They have really endless resources to throw at shaping the outcomes of legislation," said Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of OpenSecrets. Congressman Scott Peters, a Democrat, sparked protests outside his San Diego district office when he came out against a plan to cut drug costs for seniors earlier this year. He's received nearly $130,000 from the industry this year. About $100,000 has been donated to Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema this year. Senator Robert Menendez, also a Democrat, has taken nearly $80,000 in 2021. "Bottom line is I'm supporting a price negotiation bill that has been worked out," ... Menendez said when asked what message he's sending by taking money from the pharmaceutical industry.
Note: This article fails to mention that big Pharma spends more than any other sector on lobbying and also is the largest sponsor of advertising in the major media. Do you think the media and Congress are biased by this? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry from reliable major media sources.
In autumn 2020 Pfizer's chairman and chief executive, Albert Bourla, released an open letter to the billions of people around the world who were investing their hopes in a safe and effective covid-19 vaccine to end the pandemic. "As I've said before, we are operating at the speed of science," Bourla wrote, explaining to the public when they could expect a Pfizer vaccine to be authorised in the United States. But, for researchers who were testing Pfizer's vaccine at several sites in Texas during that autumn, speed may have come at the cost of data integrity and patient safety. A regional director who was employed at the research organisation Ventavia Research Group has told The BMJ that the company falsified data, unblinded patients, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events reported in Pfizer's pivotal phase III trial. Staff who conducted quality control checks were overwhelmed by the volume of problems they were finding. After repeatedly notifying Ventavia of these problems, the regional director, Brook Jackson, emailed a complaint to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ventavia fired her later the same day. Jackson has provided The BMJ with dozens of internal company documents, photos, audio recordings, and emails. Jackson has told The BMJ that, during the two weeks she was employed at Ventavia in September 2020, she repeatedly informed her superiors of poor laboratory management, patient safety concerns, and data integrity issues.
Note: Yet every major media proudly announces "brought to you by Pfizer." Learn about Brianne Dressen, Ph.D., a volunteer for early COVID vaccines clinical trials who ended up with serious adverse effects the evening of the shot and was later hospitalized, yet then the study sponsors did not follow up with her. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Pfizer reported that earnings and sales more than doubled in the past quarter, and it raised its outlook for results the full year, thanks greatly to its Covid-19 vaccine. The company reported adjusted earnings of $7.7 billion, up 133% from a year earlier. Revenue soared to $24.1 billion, up 134%. Both easily cleared results forecast by analysts. The vaccine business alone was responsible for more than 60% of the company's sales, as vaccine revenue rose to $14.6 billion from only $1.7 billion a year earlier. The company said its Covid vaccine sales accounted for $13 billion of that revenue. Revenue outside of its Covid vaccine business was up a far more modest 7%. This year, the Covid vaccine has brought in revenue of $24.3 billion. And Pfizer said it expects a total of $36 billion from the vaccine for all of 2021 – nearly $12 billion more in revenue the final quarter of the year. And it said based on contracts it now has signed it expects revenue $29 billion from the Covid vaccine in 2022. The company said it now expects full-year 2021 revenue of between $81 billion to $82 billion, up $2 billion from its earlier guidance. It also raised its earnings per share outlook by about 3% to 5% above what it had been expected to earn. About 67% of the total US population has had a least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and 58% are fully vaccinated, according to data tracked by the Mayo Clinic.
Note: Explore hundreds of personal stories of severe vaccine injury and death that are being strongly suppressed by government and the major media. An MD's excellent research reveals that the government knew about and actively suppressed safe, effective, low-price treatments for COVID and targeted physicians who prescribed them. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Merck has granted a royalty-free license for its promising Covid-19 pill to a United Nations-backed nonprofit in a deal that would allow the drug to be manufactured and sold cheaply in the poorest nations, where vaccines for the coronavirus are in devastatingly short supply. The agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool, an organization that works to make medical treatment and technologies globally accessible, will allow companies in 105 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, to sublicense the formulation for the antiviral pill, called molnupiravir, and begin making it. Merck reported this month that the drug halved the rate of hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk Covid patients who took it soon after infection in a large clinical trial. Affluent nations, including the United States, have rushed to negotiate deals to buy the drug, tying up large portions of the supply even before it has been approved by regulators and raising concerns that poor countries could be shut out of access to the medicine, much as they have been for vaccines. Generic drug makers in developing countries are expected to market the drug for as little as $20 per treatment (a 5-day course), compared to the $712 per course that the U.S. government has agreed to pay for its initial purchase. “The Merck license is a very good and meaningful protection for people living in countries where more than half of the world’s population lives,” said James Love, who leads Knowledge Ecology International, a nonprofit research organization.
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Merck is planning to charge Americans 40 times its cost for a Covid drug whose development was subsidized by the American government. Americans are facing not merely expensive drugs but prices that are examples of outright profiteering. In many cases, the medicines we are being gouged on are those that we the public already paid for. These facts show us that pharma-bankrolled Democrats trying to kill drug pricing measures aren’t just bought and paid for in this particular skirmish – they are foot soldiers in the pharmaceutical industry’s larger multi-decade campaign to seal off and rig America’s alleged “free market”. A new Public Citizen analysis shows that the 20 top-selling medicines generated almost twice as much pharmaceutical industry revenue in the United States as in every other country combined. For all the pharmaceutical industry’s self-congratulatory rhetoric about its own innovations, the federal government uses your tax dollars to fund a lot of that innovation, research and development. A study from the National Academy of Sciences tells that story: the federal government spent $100bn to subsidize the research on every single one of the 200-plus drugs approved for sale in the United States between 2010 and 2016. We now routinely face immoral situations like last week’s news that pharmaceutical giant Merck is planning to charge Americans $712 for a Covid drug that cost only $17.74 to produce and whose development was subsidized by the American government.
The popular, once bipartisan idea to hold down Medicare costs is now at the center of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. Legislation backed by the administration calls for Medicare to mirror other government agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, in being able to negotiate for cheaper medicine through the Part D program. The idea could potentially save the government nearly $500 billion over a decade. The drug pricing proposal could also translate to lower prescription costs across the board. The drug industry, according to its top lobbyist, Stephen Ubl, has made defeating the provision its top priority. Inside the Beltway, the opposition is coming from familiar faces. Many leading Democratic lawmakers and staff have been hired by the drug industry to convince their former colleagues to abandon the drug pricing proposal. Pfizer alone has assembled a lobbying team that includes Dean Aguillen, a former adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Remy Brim, a former health policy adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and over half a dozen aides to senior Senate Democrats. Ann Jablon, former chief of staff to Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. ... currently represents several drug companies as a lobbyist, including Amgen Inc., Astellas Pharma, and Bayer. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the trade group that represents the largest drug companies in the world, has also gone on a hiring spree of Democratic lobbyists.
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