Pharmaceutical Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Pharmaceutical Corruption News Articles in Media
Americans take more pills today than at any other time in recent history - and far more than people in any other country. Much of that medication use is lifesaving or at least life-improving. But a lot is not. The amount of harm stemming from inappropriate prescription medication is staggering. Almost 1.3 million people went to U.S. emergency rooms due to adverse drug effects in 2014, and about 124,000 died from those events. That’s according to estimates based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Other research suggests that up to half of those events were preventable. All of that bad medicine is costly, too. An estimated $200 billion per year is spent in the U.S. on the unnecessary and improper use of medication, for the drugs themselves and related medical costs. Our previous surveys have found that higher drug costs - including more expensive drugs and higher out-of-pocket costs - also strain household budgets, with many people telling us they had to cut back on groceries or delay paying other bills to pay for their prescriptions. Total spending on drug ads targeting consumers reached $6.4 billion last year, 64 percent more than in 2012. That’s $1.3 billion more than the FDA’s entire 2017 budget. Drug companies spend even more - $24 billion in 2012 alone - on marketing just to doctors through ads in medical journals, face-to-face sales, free medication samples, and educational and promotional meetings.
Public money and public universities boost Big Pharma’s profits, so shouldn’t the public be able to afford the drugs? Almost 1 in 2 people used a prescription drug in the past month, and more than 1 in 5 used three or more. As the population ages and deals with more chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and depression, the percentage of people needing prescription medicines is growing. But what really sets us apart is how much they cost. Medicines in the US cost 2 to 6 times more than the rest of the world. 1 in 5 Americans - 35 million people - do not get their prescriptions filled because they don't have enough money. Big Pharma says high prices are necessary to invest in breakthrough research. But corporations don't actually do much of that, [and] have shifted money away from new-drug research to quick-profit minor variations on proven moneymakers. So who funds new-drug and breakthrough-drug research? Taxpayers. 84% of new-drug research is funded by the government. The public also subsidizes drug research through generous R&D tax credits. Using public research (plus charging high prices) gives corporations big profits. Drug companies' annual stock returns are twice the standard.
Note: A comprehensive infographic showing Big Pharma's preferential treatment by US regulators can be found at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry.
Leaked internal emails appear to show employees at one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies calling for “celebration” over price hikes of cancer drugs. After purchasing five different cancer drugs from British firm GlaxoSmithKline, [Aspen Pharmacare] tried to sell the medicines ... for up to 40 times their previous price. When bargaining over drug prices in Spain, the pharmaceutical giant is said to have threatened to stop selling the cancer treatments unless the health minister agreed to price rises of up to 4,000 per cent. Now another leaked email appears to reveal that staff at Aspen discussed destroying their supplies of the drug in the row. The price increases were made possible by a loophole that allows drug companies to change the price of medicines if they are no longer branded with the same name. The loophole is designed to make drugs cheaper once their patents have expired – but if drug companies have no competition, they are free to rise prices as well. A ruling by the Italian competition watchdog found Aspen had taken an “aggressive” approach to negotiations in the country. The company said it would stop supplying Italy with the drugs in October 2013 if authorities did not agree to price rises of up to 2,100 per cent in three months.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
As a social worker, Susannah Rose referred clients with cancer to patient advocacy groups she trusted to dispense unbiased advice - until she heard the groups might be taking money from pharmaceutical companies. So she set out to investigate. Two-thirds of patient advocacy organizations reported receiving industry funding, Rose, now a bioethicist, finds in a new study. Her research was published ... in JAMA Internal Medicine along with other studies showing a host of ways pharmaceutical manufacturers appear to pay for influence. Rose and her colleagues identified 7,865 patient advocacy organizations in the U.S., most involving cancer and rare or genetic disorders. They surveyed a random sample of the organization's leaders. More than 67 percent of 245 patient advocacy groups reported receiving industry funding in the past year. Of those, nearly 12 percent reported that more than half their funding came from industry. When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain in an effort to curtail a growing epidemic of abuse of the painkillers in 2015, nonprofit organizations stepped in to challenge the effort. The CDC postponed releasing the guidelines and solicited public comments for 30 days. Opioid manufacturers gave money to 45 of 158 patient advocacy and professional organizations that commented on the proposed guidelines. Organizations with funding from opioid manufacturers were significantly more likely to oppose them, researchers found.
Note: It's interesting to note that apparently no other major media picked up this Reuters article. Drug company executives have recently been caught bribing doctors to over-prescribe opioids, and ex-DEA official has publicly accused Congress of helping drug makers avoid responsibility for their role in the US opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
It's rare to get a glimpse behind the curtain of pharmaceutical marketing. CBC [has] learned about a stealth marketing campaign involving a drug company, a well-known Canadian comedian, a doctor and a public relations firm. "Cathy Jones of This Hour Has 22 Minutes is on a mission to get women to start talking about female sexual health after menopause - and particularly, their vaginas," wrote PR company GCI Group in a press release, offering to arrange an interview. But nowhere did it say this "mission" was initiated and sponsored by Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., which makes a vaginal hormone pill. Nor did GCI's release specify that Jones was paid to give media interviews about vaginal atrophy. When CBC asked if there was a drug company involved, the PR firm said yes, Novo Nordisk, but that was to be kept secret. "No parties including GCI want any mention of the drug or drug company," CBC was told. "It's an unbranded campaign." In other words, it's marketing that looks like any other lifestyle article in news. This is what it looks like on the Globe and Mail's website. There was originally no mention of Novo Nordisk sponsoring the campaign. Is it OK for a drug company, behind a curtain, to generate news about a condition and then encourage women to see their doctor? "No, it is not OK," says Dr. Jerilynn Prior [with] the University of British Columbia. "It is misrepresenting the marketing purpose behind it." This is a rare public example of something that happens all the time.
In his 93 years, Bob Wallace has seen some product-pricing doozies over the decades, but the nonstop national furor over the stratospheric price hikes for EpiPens - now retailing above $700 for a two-pack - was the final shot. Wallace and Roland Krevitt, a veteran Scotts Valley manufacturing and tooling consultant, set out to demystify the cost to produce the EpiPen, piece by piece. The auto-injector delivers a lifesaving dose of adrenaline to treat serious allergic reactions to everything from bee stings to food. [They crunched] the costs for molding and manufacturing the nozzle, needle, syringe, springs, safety cap - and 0.3 mg of epinephrine. Their startling estimate of the cost for a two-pack of EpiPens: $8.02. And that even included the bright-yellow box. The pharmaceutical giant Mylan is the latest drugmaker to withstand a public lashing over skyrocketing drug prices. While politicians and patients demand explanations ... policy experts and drug makers blame an American health care system built on an ever-expanding pool of middlemen whose piece of the action is driving up the final bill. [Mylan’s] chief executive, Heather Bresch, recently told a congressional committee her company pays $69 per two-pack to the firm that actually manufactures the EpiPen, [and] pointed to charts explaining why the company charges a $608 wholesale price for a two-pack. The Wall Street Journal ... reported last week that Mylan low-balled its calculation of EpiPen profits to Congress.
Naloxone works by blocking the effect that painkillers and heroin have in the brain and reversing the slowed breathing and unconsciousness that come with an overdose. But as the demand for naloxone has risen - overdose deaths now total 130 every day, or roughly the capacity of a Boeing 737 - the drug’s price has soared. Not long ago, a dose of the decades-old generic drug cost little more than a dollar. Now the lowest available price is nearly 20 times that. In 2014, more than 47,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. That was 50% more deaths than from highway accidents ... and more overdose deaths than any year on record. The overdose crisis has its roots in the 1990s, when doctors began prescribing more and higher doses of painkillers [in response] to campaigns, often funded behind the scenes by drug makers, that urged doctors to prescribe the strongest painkillers not just to cancer patients and others in severe pain, but also to those with milder pain. The narcotic manufacturers’ funding of those campaigns ... came to light through evidence unearthed in lawsuits and investigative journalism reports. Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids such as oxycodone, morphine and hydrocodone sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled. During that same time, deaths from those drugs quadrupled. The lethal side effects of that booming prescription painkiller market has now sparked a moneymaking opportunity with naloxone.
Painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. When medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. Now a new study [provides] clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. Researchers at the University of Georgia scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013. In the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. They found that, in medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year. Estimating the cost savings to Medicare from the decreased prescribing, [the study] found that about $165 million was saved in the 17 medical marijuana states in 2013. The estimated annual Medicare prescription savings would be nearly half a billion dollars if all 50 states were to implement similar programs.
Note: The war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", and an increasing number of deaths are caused by prescription opioid overdose in the US each year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
It's the time of year when experts crunch the numbers to see how well the flu shot worked. The result? Better than last year, but still not good enough. "Just shy of 45 to 50 per cent," said Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the BC Centre for Disease Control, who presented the data to the Global Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness meeting at the World Health Organization last week. In 2014-15, the flu shot offered essentially zero protection against the circulating influenza virus of that season. Back then, the prevailing strain was H3N2. This year's main circulating virus was H1N1. Skowronski said the vaccine was ... disappointing. Experts used to believe the annual flu shot protection was much higher, around 70 to 90 per cent. But not anymore. Those early estimates were based on industry-funded clinical trials that were extrapolated to apply across all ages and flu seasons. "It was a blanket assumption that is simply not true," Skowronski said. That assumption changed dramatically, after Skowronski and colleagues developed a protocol that revealed the true picture of vaccine efficacy. It's called the test negative design (TND) first piloted in Canada in 2004. "The test negative design has opened our eyes to all kinds of variables that we were blind to for years," said Skowronski. Scientists also once again observed [that] people who get the shot with no prior vaccine exposure seem to have better protection than people who get the shot year after year.
Note: A National Institute of Health study found in 2007 that flu shots do not protect the elderly. More recent studies have shown that some flu shots actually increase the risk of infection. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Thousands of dogs across Britain are dying or suffering severe allergic reactions after being treated with a vaccine meant to protect them against mild bacterial infections. Fears over the safety of the vaccine against leptospirosis - a bacterial infection spread to dogs through rats and wild animals – have now led veterinary organisations to issue warnings about its side effects. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is urging owners not to use Nobivac L4 vaccine on puppies under 12 weeks old. However, [it] is still being administered in veterinary practices across Britain to dogs from seven weeks old, with little warning of the potential side effects. According to reports made to the Government's Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) by pet owners, more than 120 dogs are feared to have died after receiving a dosage in the three years the product has been on the market. In the last two years, regulators have received 2,000 reports of dogs having suspected adverse or fatal reactions. Owners that have opted for the L4 vaccine ... have reported adverse effects including epileptic fits, swollen glands and blindness. The vaccine, which is manufactured by MSD Animal Health, a subsidiary of American conglomerate Merck Sharp & Dohme, is currently being monitored by the VMD. The regulator has however refused to reveal the total number of animals that had been affected since the product came onto the market, prompting concern among dog owners that the scale of problem is being kept hidden from the public.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Treating the hepatitis C virus used to require frequent injections and daily pills that had to be taken for up to a year with flu-like side-effects. Tolerable drugs that could eliminate the infection in most patients in about 12 weeks were introduced in 2013. But the retail price for an eight- to 24-week regimen of the anti-virals ranged from $55,000 to $80,000 in 2015. Now the non-profit organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative and Egyptian drug maker Pharco Pharmaceuticals have signed agreements to provide a combination of the Hepatitis C drugs sofosbuvir and the antiviral ravisdasvir for further clinical tests for $300 US or less per treatment course. The agreement was announced this week at the International Liver Congress ... said Dr. Isabelle Andrieux-Meyer, HIV and hepatitis C medical advisor for Doctors Without Borders. The drugs make such a difference in wealthy countries but the contrast in lower and middle income countries is "brutal," Andrieux-Meyer said. "So many patients can't buy treatment," she said. Under the agreement, the company agreed to set the commercial price at $294 US or less per treatment course once the scale-up is approved. Doctors Without Borders is a member of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, which has licensed rights for ravisdasvir in low- and middle-income countries from Presidio Pharmaceuticals.
Note: While it is great that these medications may become more affordable in low-income countries, hepatitis C drugs are priced and marketed to maximize revenue regardless of the human consequences. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
Dr. Nav Persaud, a family doctor in Toronto, asked and received thousands of pages of documents from Health Canada, and what he saw made him question the effectiveness of a popular morning sickness drug. But he can't talk about it, because Health Canada forced him to sign a confidentiality agreement, and threatened him with legal action if he makes the data public. Matthew Herder, [a] health law associate professor ... is calling on other doctors, researchers and journalists to bombard Ottawa with their own demands for drug industry data, using [a] new legislative lever written into ... the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, which was passed late last year. Today, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Herder is urging Canadians to use the clause [to request] data that has long been protected by a wall of bureaucratic and corporate secrecy. The European Medicines Agency has started publishing all of the clinical reports submitted as part of drug marketing authorization applications - the same material Health Canada refuses to disclose. Almost half of the drug trials remain secret. [In the US], one group looked at 12 antidepressants, comparing the published studies with the internal FDA assessments. 94 per cent of the published studies were positive, compared to 51 per cent when they included all of the studies assessed by the FDA. The authors concluded that without seeing all the data, drug effectiveness can be exaggerated, leading doctors and patients to assume the medications work better than they do.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and big pharma profiteering. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.
Martin Shkreli ... gained notoriety in August when, as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, he acquired a drug to treat parasitic infections, especially in pregnant women and AIDS patients, and proceeded to hike the price to from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He resigned from Turing Friday after being arrested on unrelated charges of securities fraud at a hedge fund. Shkreli was no doubt a first-class tool. But to focus exclusively on shaming Shkreli risks missing the larger problem, that the American health care system allows opportunists like him to [exploit] the lack of transparency on how drugs are priced in the United States. His price gouging was perfectly legal and even justified under the market-based system that underpins the health care industry. “There’s no law that he has to be ethical,” said [Dr. Jeffrey] Lobosky, author of It's Enough To Make You Sick. “His job is not to make drugs available and save patients. His responsibility is to make a profit for his shareholders.” On paper, Turing is a drug company, but it more closely resembles a private-equity firm: it buys undervalued assets - older drugs already approved by federal regulators - and makes money by charging more than what it paid. Many firms make drugs that are mere copies of others and offer no real therapeutic value, Lobosky said.
Until this week most of us had never heard of Daraprim, a drug that fights toxoplasmosis. But after the decision of the drug’s new owner, Turing Pharmaceuticals, to boost its cost per pill from $13.50 to a whopping $750, we’re all unlikely to forget its name or the name of Turing’s owner, 32-year-old Martin Shkreli. The outrage over the astronomical hike in a life-saving drug has opened the doors to a ... debate about the soaring costs of prescription medications in the United States. Daraprim ... has been around since the 1940s. Logic suggests that drugs that have been around for a while should decline in price. It turns out that isn’t the case. The profit-minded individual or company snaps up the patents, suddenly hikes the drug’s price and puts consumers – from insurance companies to individuals – in a position of either paying what is demanded or going without. Late this summer, Rodelis Therapeutics boosted the cost of 30 tablets of cycloserine, a tuberculosis drug, from $500 to $10,800. Early in the year, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc boosted the prices of two heart drugs, Nitropress and Isuprel, by 525% and 212% on the same day that they acquired them. “Our duty is to shareholders and to maximize the value” of Valeant’s products, a company spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal at the time.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Inexpensive statin drugs are given to millions of people to reduce cholesterol, even many who don't show signs of heart disease. A recent study has found that seniors with no history of heart trouble are now nearly four times more likely to get those drugs than they were in 1999. Here's the catch: For patients of that age, there is little research showing statins' preventive heart benefits outweigh possible risks, which can include muscle pain and the onset of diabetes. There have only been a handful of studies that included the over-79 population. The rate of statin use among octogenarians and beyond who don't have a history of heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease or vascular heart disease quadrupled between 1999 and 2012. Concerns about statins' effects in those older than 79 are being raised as some cardiologists question whether statins are overprescribed even among some younger people. Dr. Steven Nissen, department chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, suggests Congress legislate incentives for drugmakers to study a wider array of drugs and their effects on the very elderly. Most drugs aren't supported by hard clinical evidence to back up treatment in the elderly, he said. Ohio State's Dr. Michael Johansen, a co-author of the recent statins study, suggests doctors be more cautious. Muscle pains that some seniors on statins complain of might be so severe as to ... lead to life-threatening injuries, he suggested. "We just don't know," he said.
Note: In 2010, ABC News reported on drug company involvement in statin research after a critical review found major flaws in the science behind this research. Does anyone but big pharma profit from over-prescribing drugs?
The trade rules of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership ... would cover nearly 40 percent of the world economy. Access to the text of the proposed deal is highly restricted. At last month’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman defended the ... refusal to release the full text of the proposed trade pact. “It is incomprehensible to me that leaders of major corporate interests who stand to gain enormous financial benefits from this agreement are actively involved in the writing of the TPP, while at the same time, the elected officials of this country, representing the American people, have little or no knowledge of what’s in it,” wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders, independent-Vt., in a letter to Froman last month. Congressional lawmakers are permitted to view the text of the agreement only in the U.S. trade representative’s office, without their own staff members or experts present. They are not allowed to take copies of the agreement back to Capitol Hill for deeper, independent evaluation. Despite those restrictions, specific details of the agreement’s text have surfaced from unauthorized leaks. One of the leaks showed the U.S. proposing to empower corporations to attempt to overturn domestic regulations, while ... another leaked provision would help the pharmaceutical industry inflate the price of medicines.
Note: For more, watch an excellent, two-minute video by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on the TPP titled "The Worst Trade Deal You've Never Heard of," or read leaked draft texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for yourself.
Patients who suffered brain damage as a result of taking a swine flu vaccine are to receive multi-million-pound payouts from the UK government. Following the swine flu outbreak of 2009, about 60 million people, most of them children, received the vaccine. It was subsequently revealed that the vaccine, Pandemrix, can cause narcolepsy and cataplexy in about one in 16,000 people, and many more are expected to come forward with the symptoms. Across Europe, more than 800 children are so far known to have been made ill by the vaccine. The Pandemrix vaccine was manufactured by pharmaceuticals giant Glaxo Smith Kline, which refused to supply governments unless it was indemnified against any claim for damage caused. "There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Pandemrix increased the occurrence of narcolepsy onset in children," Emmanuelle Mignot, a specialist in sleep disorder at Stanford University in the United States told Reuters. Among those affected are NHS medical staff, many of whom are now unable to do their jobs because of the symptoms brought on by the vaccine. They will be suing the government for millions in lost earnings. However, the vast majority of patients affected - around 80% - are children. Despite a 2011 warning from the European Medicines Agency against using the vaccine on those under 20 and a study indicating a 13-fold heightened risk of narcolepsy in vaccinated children, GSK has refused to acknowledge a link.
Note: Read about people in other countries who were damaged by the vaccine on this webpage. See powerful media reports suggesting that both the avian flu and swine flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. And watch a powerful CBS video describing how 4,000 Americans in 1976 sued for neurological damages caused by a swine flu vaccine that they agreed to take after falling for fear mongering about the flu by the government. 300 people allegedly died from the vaccine. For more, see the excellent resources in our Health Information Center.
China has fined UK pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline $490m (Ł297m) after a court found it guilty of bribery. The record penalty follows allegations the drug giant paid out bribes to doctors and hospitals in order to have their products promoted. The court gave GSK's former head of Chinese operations, Mark Reilly, a suspended three-year prison sentence and he is set to be deported. Other GSK executives have also been given suspended jail sentences. The guilty verdict was delivered after a one-day trial at a court in Changsha, according to the Xinhua news agency. Chinese authorities first announced they were investigating GSK in July last year, in what has become the biggest corruption scandal to hit a foreign firm in years. The company was accused of having made an estimated $150m in illegal profits. GSK said it had "published a statement of apology to the Chinese government and its people". This is a humiliating outcome for one of Britain's biggest companies: pleading guilty to systematic bribery, facing the biggest fine in Chinese history and making an abject apology to the Chinese government and people.
Note: In February 2016, GlaxoSmithKline was fined another $53 million by the UK for preventing generic competition. The list of huge fines to top drug companies includes five fines of over $1 billion and dozens over $100 million. How can we trust these companies on the safety and reliability of their products?
After more than 50 years leading the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Keith Conners could be celebrating. Severely hyperactive and impulsive children, once shunned as bad seeds, are now recognized as having a real neurological problem. Doctors and parents have largely accepted drugs like Adderall and Concerta to temper the traits of classic A.D.H.D., helping youngsters succeed in school and beyond. But Dr. Conners did not feel triumphant this fall as he addressed a group of fellow A.D.H.D. specialists in Washington. He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990. He questioned the rising rates of diagnosis and called them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.” “The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.” The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable.
Note: For more on corruption in the medical industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In a medical system notorious for opaque finances and inflated bills, nothing is more convoluted than hospital pricing, economists say. Hospital charges represent about a third of the $2.7 trillion annual United States health care bill, the biggest single segment, according to government statistics, and are the largest driver of medical inflation, a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found. A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them ... emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures — closing a wound with a needle and thread — typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more. At Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Daniel Diaz, 29, a public relations executive, was billed $3,355.96 for five stitches on his finger after cutting himself while peeling an avocado. At a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., Arch Roberts Jr., 56, a former government employee, was charged more than $2,000 for three stitches after being bitten by a dog. Insurers and patients negotiated lower prices, but those charges were a starting point. The main reason for high hospital costs in the United States, economists say, is fiscal, not medical: Hospitals are the most powerful players in a health care system that has little or no price regulation in the private market.
Note: For more on corruption in the health industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
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