“The unfair patent system is now one the biggest obstacles to defeating this virus.”
That was the core critique from Nick Dearden, executive director of the U.K.-based advocacy group Global Justice Now, on Friday morning in response to news this week that South Africa is paying more than double for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine compared to most countries in Europe.
According to a report by The Guardian, a Belgian minister leaked information revealing that European Union members are paying €1.78 ($2.16) per dose for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Meanwhile, even as the pharmaceutical giant has said it would cap the price at €2.50 (approx. $3) per dose, South Africa’s deputy director general of health Anban Pillay confirmed to the newspaper that it was quoted a price of $5.25 per dose. Continue reading →
“If Trump gets the Supreme Court to strike down ACA, the richest 0.1% would get a tax cut of $198,000 a year, and Big Pharma would get a tax cut of $2.8 billion. But millions of seniors would pay billions more for prescription drugs, and 20 million would lose their health insurance.”
Health Care Reform Law Protests at the US Supreme Court in 2012. Photo: Elvert Barnes/CC
New research released Tuesday shows that if the Supreme Court next month sides with the Trump administration and 18 state attorneys general seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more than 20 million people would lose health insurance and millions more would be forced to pay more for healthcare—in the middle of a pandemic—while Big Pharma and the richest 0.1% would enjoy major tax cuts.
“The stakes in this case, always extraordinarily high”—wrote Tara Straw and Aviva Aron-Dine in one of several reports (pdf) published this week by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)—”are even higher now amidst a global pandemic and an economic crisis that has caused more people to lose health insurance and become eligible for help from the ACA.” Continue reading →
During the debate Trump claimed that insulin is now “so cheap it’s like water,” but A 10ml vial of insulin from Novo Nordisk or Eli Lilly, for example, costs Americans $290, ranking it alongside the likes of Chanel No. 5 and scorpion venom as among the most expensive liquids in the world.
One of Trump’s more questionable claims he made at the now infamous first presidential debate was that he was driving down medical costs for ordinary Americans. Under his presidency, the 74-year-old New Yorker claimed, diabetes medicine insulin had gone from so expensive that it was “destroying families” to “so cheap it’s like water.” “This is big stuff,” he added.
Trump had indeed signed an executive order on insulin in July. But the scope of the new legislation was extremely limited, targeting only a small group of health care providers and benefitting only two percent of the relevant outlets for insulin. In reality, insulin prices have tripled in the last decade, rising to new exorbitant highs not seen anywhere else in the world. A 10ml vial of insulin from Novo Nordisk or Eli Lilly, for example, costs Americans $290, ranking them alongside the likes of Chanel No. 5 and scorpion venom as among the most expensive liquids in the world. Continue reading →
Ethics watchdogs on Wednesday slammed a ruling by the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general, who decided this week that Moncef Slaoui, a former pharmaceutical executive now heading the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine task force, does not have to disclose or divest his investments in the industry.
As the co-director of Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership aimed at finding a vaccine for Covid-19 by the end of 2020, Slaoui is in the position to award contracts to pharmaceutical companies researching potential vaccines and treatments. Continue reading →
Consumer advocates reacted with disgust Monday to an announcement by Gilead Sciences that it will charge U.S. hospitals around $3,120 per privately insured patient for a treatment course of remdesivir, a drug which has proven modestly effective at speeding Covid-19 recovery times.
Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program, called Gilead’s pricing—which works out to around $520 per dose for non-government buyers like hospitals—”an offensive display of hubris and disregard for the public” and slammed the Trump administration for failing to ensure that the price of a drug developed with substantial taxpayer support is affordable for all. Continue reading →
“It’s so unbelievably shocking to see corporate lawyers actively discussing having foreign investors use ISDS to challenge countries over their coronavirus lockdown measures, and try to extract ‘expected future profits’ from them.”
Lidia Senra speaking against ISDS in the European Parliament in February 2019. Photo: Lidia Senra/Twitter
Prominent corporate law firms representing major businesses in the United States, Italy, Spain, and other nations are openly discussing the possibility of companies using a secretive and notorious legal process to sue countries over future profits lost due to government efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, the non-profit research group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) documented numerous examples of high-powered corporate law firms—including Ropes & Gray, Alston & Bird, and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan—publicly licking their chops over the lucrative opportunity presented by the Covid-19 crisis and government attempts to fight it. Continue reading →
Analysts project that 43 million Americans could lose their insurance when the unemployment rate hits 20%. According to the Department of Labor, the current unemployment rate is 14.7%. (Photo: Elvert Barnes/Flickr/cc)
Medicare for All advocates on Sunday pointed to the latest study on the looming health insurance crisis already becoming apparent amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to job losses for more than 33 million people in the past two months.
Because health insurance is tied to employment for about half the country—160 million people—as many as 43 million are expected to lose their health insurance due to the pandemic, according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Urban Institute. Continue reading →
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday told Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” that scientific evidence does not support President Donald Trump’s repeated claim that hydroxychloroquine can prevent the coronavirus. (Photo: Alliance for Health Policy/Flickr/cc)
The nation’s top expert on infectious diseases was forced once again on Sunday to negate President Donald Trump’s latest claim that an anti-malaria drug can treat coronavirus, which the president made at his Saturday evening press conference.
On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Dr. Anthony Fauci told host Margaret Brennan that “in terms of science, I don’t think we could definitively say it works,” regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine for the virus. Continue reading →
However, a study just published in a French medical journal provides new evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not appear to help the immune system clear the coronavirus from the body. The study comes on the heels of two others – one in France and one in China – that reported some benefits in the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for COVID-19 patients who didn’t have severe symptoms of the virus. Continue reading →
As healthcare providers across the U.S. desperately attempt to treat a rapidly growing number of patients with the coronavirus, a pharmaceutical company with ties to the Trump administration has been granted exclusive status for a drug it is developing to treat the illness—a potential windfall for the company that could put the medication out of reach for many Americans.
As The Interceptreported Monday, the Food and Drug Administration granted Gilead Sciences “orphan” drug status for remdesivir, one of several drugs being tested as potential treatments for the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. The designation is generally reserved for drugs that treat rare illnesses affecting fewer than 200,000 Americans—but companies can be eligible if the designation, as in this case of a rapidly spreading virus, is made before a disease spreads beyond that limit. Continue reading →