Category Archives: Antitrust

Patients Push Biden HHS to Act as Pharma Firm Charges $190K for Lifesaving Prostate Cancer Drug

“HHS can clearly insist on limiting the U.S. price of Xtandi to the median price for other large high-income countries,” said advocates, “particularly since the drug has already generated more than $10 billion in sales from Medicare alone based upon these unconscionable pricing disparities.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 11-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: GlobalGiving

“Cancer does not wait, nor should cancer patients have to wait for years for their government to act.”

That’s the message patient advocates reiterated in a Friday letter asking the Biden administration to help them secure a lifesaving prostate cancer drug that costs nearly $190,000 per year despite its development being 100% taxpayer-funded.

Last year, prostate cancer patient Eric Sawyer petitioned U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to grant march-in rights—under which the government can grant patent licenses to companies other than a drug’s manufacturer—for enzalutamide, which is sold under the brand name Xtandi. Continue reading

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Amid Eli Lilly-Twitter Fiasco, Groups Call for End to Insulin Price Gouging

“The fake Eli Lilly account was right. Insulin should be free.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 11-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Brian J. Matis/flickr/CC

Dozens of progressive advocacy groups marked World Diabetes Day on Monday by urging Congress to pass legislation that would ensure people in the United States have access to the insulin on which their survival depends and prevent Big Pharma from price gouging on the lifesaving medicine.

In a letter addressed to Senate and House leaders, Public Citizen, T1International, and more than 50 other organizations wrote: “World Diabetes Day marks the birthday of Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin and famously sold its patent for $1 and stated, ‘Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world.’ Despite its discovery more than 100 years ago and the generosity of Banting and the co-inventors, many people living in the United States still struggle to afford access to the insulin they need.” Continue reading

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Biden FTC Applauded for Moving to Crack Down on ‘Predatory Pricing,’ Other Corporate Abuses

FTC Chair Lina Khan is “charting a path toward a new era of refined antitrust enforcement that prioritizes working families and small businesses,” said one advocate.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 11-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan. Screenshot: CNBC

Progressives cheered Thursday after the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-1 to issue a new policy statement restoring the agency’s commitment to “rigorously enforcing the federal ban on unfair methods of competition.”

While Section 5 of the FTC Act—passed in the early 20th century by congressional lawmakers unsatisfied with the Sherman Act, the original antitrust statute—prohibits “unfair methods of competition” and instructs the commission to identify and rein in such practices, the agency has refused for decades to exercise its full legal authority to do so. Continue reading

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Company That Makes Rent-Setting Software for Apartments Accused of Collusion, Lawsuit Says

 

Texas-based RealPage worked with some of the nation’s largest landlords to create a cartel to raise rents, says a lawsuit filed just days after ProPublica published its investigation into the company.

by Heather Vogell for ProPublica,  Published 10-21-2022

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

Renters filed a lawsuit this week alleging that a company that makes price-setting software for apartments and nine of the nation’s biggest property managers formed a cartel to artificially inflate rents in violation of federal law.

The lawsuit was filed days after ProPublica published an investigation raising concerns that the software, sold by Texas-based RealPage, is potentially pushing rent prices above competitive levels, facilitating price fixing or both.

The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego. Continue reading

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Consumer Advocates Blast ‘Dangerous’ Amazon Bid to Buy Maker of Roomba

“From a privacy perspective, this is a nightmare,” said one anti-monopoly critic. “From an antitrust perspective, this is one of the most powerful data collection companies on Earth acquiring another vast and intrusive set of data.”

By Julia Conley  Published 8-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns/flickr/CC

Amazon on Friday expanded its capacity to connect to and collect information about consumers’ homes and private lives, announcing its plan to purchase of iRobot Corp., the maker of the popular Roomba vacuum.

The e-commerce giant announced it will acquire the company for $1.7 billion in an all-cash deal, taking control of one of its competitors following Amazon’s release last year of Astro, its own “smart” home assistant, which can move between rooms in a home and recognize faces. Continue reading

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Big Pharma Flooding Airwaves With Disinformation to Kill Drug Price Reform

“Powerful interest groups out there don’t want this legislation to succeed, so they’re pouring dark money into efforts to stop it,” said one Democratic senator.

By Jake Johnson  Published 7-29-2022 by Common Dreams

The group American Commitment is running ads in several states attacking Democrats’ plan to lower prescription drug prices. (Photo: Screengrab/American Commitment)

While its thousands of lobbyists work fervently on Capitol Hill, the pharmaceutical industry is flooding the airwaves in several states with deceptive ads in a last-ditch campaign to block Senate Democrats’ plan to curb the unchecked pricing power of drug corporations.

Included as part of a reconciliation package negotiated by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the proposal would require Medicare to negotiate the prices of a small number of drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies, which can currently drive up costs as they please—boosting their profits at the expense of patients. Continue reading

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‘A Big Deal’: US, African Scientists to Collaborate on mRNA Vaccine Development

“Scientists are leading the way,” said one advocate. “Perhaps political leaders will follow.”

Logo: Afrigen

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-8-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. government scientists on Friday agreed to share technical know-how related to the development of next-generation vaccines and treatments with their counterparts at Afrigen Biologics, a South African drug manufacturer that hosts the first mRNA technology transfer hub established by the World Health Organization and its partners.

The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) pioneered the use of mRNA and its parent organization, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), co-invented Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. Together, NIAID and Afrigen seek to expedite the production of mRNA vaccines—not only to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but also to address other infectious diseases and cancer. Continue reading

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Reported End to Facebook’s ‘Murky’ Deals With News Giants Sparks Call for ‘Truly Fair Marketplace’

“We can’t allow our free press to be captured by tech monopolies,” warned one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Image: Simon Steinberger/CC

Press freedom and antitrust advocates on Friday derided both Facebook and corporate media beneficiaries of the tech titan’s multimillion dollar spending spree following reporting that the company is rethinking its investments amid increasing regulatory pressures and a shift away from news partnerships.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook in recent years has annually paid an average of more than $15 million to The Washington Post, as well as $20 million to The New York Times, and over $10 million to the Journal. The Journal deal is part of a larger $20 million agreement. Continue reading

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To Combat Insulin Price Gouging, California Looks Into Generic Drug Production

“Everyone who cares about the future of U.S. domestic policy should pay attention to this effort in California to build a public option for prescription drug manufacturing,” said one expert. “Potentially game-changing.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Brian J. Matis/flickr/CC

With insulin prices in the United States so astronomical that experts have accused the federal government and pharmaceutical industry of violating human rights, California is exploring a plan to produce its own generic version of the lifesaving medicine and make it accessible to millions of people with diabetes.

“Everyone who cares about the future of U.S. domestic policy should pay attention to this effort in California to build a public option for prescription drug manufacturing,” Steph Sterling, vice president of the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive think tank, said Tuesday. Continue reading

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EU Enacts Landmark Social Media Law to End Self-Regulation by Big Tech

“As the U.S. agonizes over misinformation and hate speech on social media and the harm it does to democracy,” said one journalist, the European Union passed the Digital Services Act “to tackle the problem.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 4-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Jason Howie/flickr/CC

The European Union on Saturday passed a landmark law that seeks to reduce social media’s harmful effects by requiring Big Tech corporations to quash disinformation and illicit content on their platforms or else face multibillion-dollar fines.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) would compel Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and other platforms “to set up new policies and procedures to remove flagged hate speech, terrorist propaganda, and other material defined as illegal by countries within the European Union,” the New York Times reported. Continue reading

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