Tag Archives: Big Pharma

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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‘Terrible Idea’: Biden Preparing to Shift Costs of Covid Treatments, Vaccines to Patients

“We must push back,” said one doctor. “Free provision of vaccinations, Paxlovid, and monoclonals has been critically important.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 8-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Army Spc. Angel Laureano holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 14, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

Advocates for a more just healthcare system responded with alarm to Thursday reporting that the Biden administration is taking steps to stop paying for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments in the coming months, a move critics fear will lead to higher prices and more expensive coverage, enriching pharmaceutical and insurance giants at the expense of patients.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to meet with representatives from drug manufacturers, pharmacies, and state health departments on August 30 to “map out” how to shift the bill for coronavirus jabs and therapeutics from the federal government to individuals, according to The Wall Street Journal. Continue reading

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98 Million in US Skipped Treatment or Cut Back on Essentials to Pay for Healthcare This Year

“People have been making trade-offs to pay for healthcare for years. Inflation has only made things worse as people are also now struggling with the high price of gas, food, and electricity,” said the president of West Health, which conducted the new poll with Gallup.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-5-2022 by Common Dreams

As inflation hit a 40-year high this year, nearly 100 million Americans skipped care or cut back on necessities to cover the rising cost of medical treatment in a nation infamous for its for-profit system, according to polling results released this week.

Inflation rose to 9.1% in June—and healthcare inflation was at 4.5%—when Gallup and West Health asked people across the country how they had handled higher healthcare costs over the past six months. Continue reading

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Inside the Democrats’ climate deal with the devil

The new climate package furthers the US’ most profligate pastimes: drilling oil and driving big cars

By Aaron White  Published 8-2-2022 by openDemocracy

Senator Joe Manchin Photo: Third Way Think Tank/flickr/CC

Last week, Joe Manchin, the West Virginia senator whose decisive vote in the evenly split upper house has led some to brand him ‘President Manchin’, and Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer surprised even the most clued-in political junkies by announcing support for a climate bill that had been declared dead just several weeks before.

The 725-page legislation seemed a brief respite from a summer of extreme weather – a brutal heatwave and flooding across the US – as well as soaring inflation, a cost of living crisis and radical Supreme Court rulings that overturned abortion rights and limited the regulatory power of the Environmental Protection Agency. 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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Letting Medicare Negotiate Drug Prices Would Save US Nearly $290 Billion: CBO

“By empowering Medicare to directly negotiate prices for prescription drugs Congress can end the days of seniors missing lifesaving medications because they cannot afford them,” said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

By Jon Queally  Published 7-9-2022 by Common Dreams

The Congressional Budget Office said Friday that a pending proposal by Senate Democrats to allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies for lower prices would yield nearly $290 billion in savings and new revenue over ten years of implementation, a predictable yet crucial finding as lawmakers try to revitalize a legislative deal in the coming weeks.

The Democratic effort to revitalize a broader reconciliation package that could be passed in the narrowly-split Senate without Republican votes is considered the best that can be achieved after Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema tanked the much larger Build Back Better plan—one that included sweeping climate provisions and other social investments—last year. Continue reading

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‘Grave Injustice’: Judge Rules Against West Virginia Community Devastated by Opioids

Three pharmaceutical companies distributed 81 million opioid painkillers in a West Virginia county over an eight-year period, but the federal judge ruled they were not liable for the damage done by the opioid epidemic.

By Julia Conley  Published 7-5-2022 by Common Dreams

A federal judge ruled on July 4, 2022 that three pharmaceutical companies are not liable for the damage that their sales of opioids did to a community in West Virginia. (Photo: VCU CNS/Flickr/cc)

A community in West Virginia is planning to appeal a ruling handed down Monday by a federal judge who concluded that three pharmaceutical companies are not liable for the vast damage done to the area by their shipments of millions of opioids.

Cabell County and the city of Huntington argued in court last year that AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson had created a “public nuisance” by distributing more than 81 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills in the area over an eight-year period, saying the companies made no effort to ensure the pills were fulfilling legitimate prescriptions and wouldn’t be sold on the black market. 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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‘Good News for Seniors’: Becerra Orders Medicare to Reassess Premium Hike

“It is unconscionable,” said one advocate welcoming the announcement, “for Medicare premiums to increase this dramatically because of one corporation’s greed.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Pubished 1-10-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced on January 10, 2022 that he was ordering a review of a planned 15% hike in the Medicare Part B premium. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

As the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that he was ordering a review of a planned 15% hike in the Medicare Part B premium for 2022, healthcare reform advocates stressed the need for Congress to pass a Build Back Better bill with a provision allowing the federal government to negotiate the price of prescription drugs.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said that he was instructing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “to reassess the recommendation for the 2022 Medicare Part B premium”—a hike that progressive critics said was largely the result of the pharmaceutical industry’s outrageous profiteering. Continue reading

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