Saturday, November 28, 2015

As Expected, Creepy "Pharma Bro" Keeps Drug Price Way Up To Get Super Rich

Martin Shkreli, stil looking smug for making oodles
of money through drug price gouging, says his many critics. 
I know, I know, I've written on and off about Martin Shkreli, the odious money grubbing "Pharma Bro." You might be sick of him, and I kind of am, too. But he just keeps at it.

I just can't resist staring down a villain, is all.

As you might recall, Shkreli and his company Turing Pharmaceuticals, abruptly raised the price of a life saving drug more than fifty fold, raising it to $750 per pill.

The drug helps peope with HIV, organ transplant patients and others with weakened immune systems.  He didn't really care that he was making the life saving drug financially out of reach for many. So what if some people died? Shkreli needs to get richer.

After a major public outcry, Shkreli said he would reduce the price of the drug. But now, not surprisingly we learn that once the media spotlight was off him, he basically said, forget it. I need to get even more super rich off this drug.

At first glance, it looks Shkreli did do something about the price, but not really.

According to the Associated Press, his company will reduce what it charges to hospital for the drug, and most patients' copayments will be capped at around $10 a month.

Sounds terrific, right? No. As the Associated Press put it, "But insurers will be stuck with the bulk of the $750 tab. That drives up future treatment and insurance costs for everyone.

Another drug company, Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, came out with a similar version of the drug that costs just 99 cents a pill, so at least the people that need the medication can get someting at least similar to the original medication.

Still, Impremis has to work to get insurance companies to sign on to using the cheaper pill, but they're making progress. Impremis is also trying to get Congress to change rules to let Medicare, the Defense Department and other federal agencies to cover the less expensive compounded medicines fro outfits like Impremis, says the Associated Press.

Of course, I have no idea why it should be so hard for Congress to change those rules, but then again, we are talking about the U.S. Congress.

 If your insurance doesn't cover the cheaper drug, you're outta luck. You go bankrupt, maybe, on Turing's uber expensive drug Daraprim.

Meanwhile, Turing, under Shkreli's "leadership" is basically trying to say that the sky high price of their drug is a good thing because lower prices don't benefit patients, reports Tech Dirt.

 Yeah, I don't get that either, but here's what Turing's press release says: "Drug pricing is one of the ost complex parts of the health are industry. A drug's list price is not the primary factor in determining patient affordability and access. A reduction in Daraprim's list price would not translate into a benefit for patients."

Um, right. The press release doesn't exactly explain how lower prices would not benefit patients.

The scary thing about all this is that there's very likely other drug manufacturers who are price gouging drugs because they can.    

Yes, I get it that a somewhat higher price needs to be built into medication to fund innovation in future drugs, but it seems as if a lot of this income is going to make billionaires trillionaires or something, rather than advance the cause of science.

The lobbyists have ensured such a thing is legal, and who cares if it's unethical?

The billiionaires have gotta be billionaires, you know.

No comments:

Post a Comment