Category Archives: Drug Companies

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U.S. taxpayers already paid for COVID-19 treatments — we cannot let Big Pharma make us pay again

U.S. taxpayers have already paid for the research and testing of the most promising treatments

There’s much we don’t yet know about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. We don’t know how long the pandemic will last, when a vaccine will be developed, or how many lives antiviral medications can save. But there’s one thing we know for sure: U.S. taxpayers have already paid for the research and testing of the most promising treatments.

These treatments should be available to everyone who needs them at no cost. But the Trump administration’s drug policy is led by two former pharmaceutical executives, and that is having devastating consequences for potential access to treatments and vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’ve been watching Donald Trump’s daily press briefings, that might come as a surprise. During his 2016 campaign, Trump loved to talk tough on pharma and say he would fight for lower drug prices. But then he put Alex Azar, a big pharma CEO infamous for doubling the price of insulin, in charge of regulating health care. Several weeks ago, Azar refused to guarantee that a coronavirus vaccine will be affordable for all, citing the need to protect big pharma’s profits.

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BIG PHARMA PREPARES TO PROFIT FROM THE CORONAVIRUS

AS THE NEW CORONAVIRUS spreads illness, death, and catastrophe around the world, virtually no economic sector has been spared from harm. Yet amid the mayhem from the global pandemic, one industry is not only surviving, it is profiting handsomely.

“Pharmaceutical companies view Covid-19 as a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity,” said Gerald Posner, author of “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.” The world needs pharmaceutical products, of course. For the new coronavirus outbreak, in particular, we need treatments and vaccines and, in the U.S., tests. Dozens of companies are now vying to make them.

“They’re all in that race,” said Posner, who described the potential payoffs for winning the race as huge. The global crisis “will potentially be a blockbuster for the industry in terms of sales and profits,” he said, adding that “the worse the pandemic gets, the higher their eventual profit.”

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Oklahoma Reaches $8.75 Million Settlement With Opiate Maker

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The state of Oklahoma will receive $8.75 million from two pharmaceutical companies in a deal announced Friday that will end legal action the state was considering against the opioid manufacturers.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced the agreement with Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Par Pharmaceutical, Inc., both subsidiaries of Dublin-based Endo International. Without the agreement, Hunter said he planned to file suit against the company alleging it violated state law by deceptively marketing opioid pain medications in a way that understated the risk of addiction.

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Trump administration plans to require drug companies to include prices in ads

BY JESSIE HELLMANN AND NATHANIEL WEIXEL – 

Drug companies would be required to list prices in advertisements under a Trump administration proposal released Monday.

Under the new proposal, which was announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, drug manufacturers would need to state the list price of a 30-day supply of any drug that is covered through Medicare and Medicaid and costs at least $35 a month.

The plan is the boldest step the administration has taken to date as part of its efforts to bring down drug prices, and puts the administration squarely at odds with the powerful prescription drug lobby.

“Patients deserve to know what a given drug will cost when they’re being told about the benefits and risks it may have,” Azar said during a speech Monday in Washington, D.C.

“And they deserve to know when a drug company has pushed its prices to abusive levels, and they deserve to know this every time they see a drug advertised to them on TV.”

The proposal will be officially published Wednesday, and will be open for public comment for 60 days.

According to HHS, the 10 most commonly advertised drugs have list prices ranging from $535 to $11,000 per month for a usual course of therapy. Under the proposal, companies would be required to post that information in clear, legible text onscreen at the end of the ad.

HHS officials said the agency will publish a list of companies that don’t comply with the policy. Those companies would also be subject to potential litigation, officials said during a press call.

The pharmaceutical industry opposes the proposal, arguing it would confuse consumers because a drug’s list price is often lower than what the patient will actually pay.

PhRMA, the deep-pocketed trade group representing pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., tried getting ahead of Azar’s announcement, telling reporters Monday morning that its members would begin directing patients to more information about drug costs in television ads.

Every ad mentioning a prescription drug by name will include a voiceover or text telling patients to go to a company-sponsored website where they can find information about the list price, as well as a range of potential out-of-pocket costs and potential patient assistance. 

“We want patients to have more cost information and support using direct-to-consumer advertising,” said PhRMA President Steven Ubl, but “just including list prices is not sufficient and would be misleading.”

Azar acknowledged PhRMA’s plan in his speech Monday afternoon, but said it doesn’t go far enough. 

Full Read – https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/411505-trump-administration-to-require-drug-companies-include-prices-in-ads

Pot farm’s neighbors lose federal suit filed under anti-Mafia law

DENVER — A federal jury has ruled against a Colorado couple who claimed that a marijuana-growing operation hurt the value of their property in a case that was closely watched by the U.S. cannabis industry.

Jurors reached their verdict in Denver after deliberating for about a half day, The Colorado Sunreported Wednesday.

It was the first time a jury considered a lawsuit using federal anti-racketeering law to target a marijuana company.

“A loss in this case would have meant the loss of his business,” Matthew Buck, the lawyer for operation’s owner, Parker Walton, told The Sun.

The marijuana industry has followed the case since 2015, when attorneys with a Washington, D.C., firm first filed their complaint on behalf of Hope and Michael Reilly over Walton’s operation in the rural southern Colorado town of Rye.

Vulnerability to similar lawsuits is among the many risks facing marijuana operations licensed by states but still violating federal law. Lawsuits using the same strategy have been filed in California, Massachusetts and Oregon.

One of the Reillys’ lawyers, Brian Barnes, said the couple bought their land for its views of Pikes Peak, built a house there and hike and ride horses on the property.

But they claimed “pungent, foul odors” from a neighboring indoor marijuana-growing operation have hurt the property’s value and the couple’s ability to use and enjoy it.

Congress created the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to target the Mafia in the 1970s, allowing prosecutors to argue leaders of a criminal enterprise should pay a price along with lower-level defendants.

Full Read – http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2018/nov/02/pot-farm-s-neighbors-lose-federal-suit-/