Originally published September 22 2015
Big Pharma just made it more expensive to treat an infection than to buy a house
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) In 2008 when he was first running for president, then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois said he wanted to tackle the high cost of health care in the United States.
In 2009, his first year in office, he began pushing legislation that would eventually – and not-so-endearingly – be labeled "Obamacare," a massive bill that the newly elected chief executive promised would curb the growth of healthcare costs.
In 2010, when a Democrat majority passed the Affordable Care Act, Obama and his congressional supporters swore that the new law would lower healthcare expenditures and make it more affordable for more Americans.
That was then. Today, health care costs continue to soar, due in no small part to the dramatically rising prices of medicine.
Take one recent example.
5,000 percent price increaseAs reported by FiercePharma, Turing Pharma recently purchased Daraprim, a standard-of-care medication used in the treatment of toxoplasmosis infections in AIDS and cancer patients. Shortly after buying the drug, Turing CEO Martin Shkreli took its price from $13.50 a tablet to a whopping $750 per pill.
"Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous," a tweet from Democratic president contender Hillary Clinton said after Shkreli announced the price hike. "Tomorrow I'll lay out a plan to take it on. -H "
As further noted by FiercePharma:
It's not the first example of a company buying in a drug and hiking the price by a big margin. Valeant Pharmaceuticals is under Congressional investigation for doing the same thing on CV meds Isuprel ($215 per vial to $1,346 per) and Nitropress ($257.90 per vial to $805.61). Horizon Pharma jacked up its price on the pain pill Vimovo by almost sixfold, soon after buying the drug from AstraZeneca.
And Retrophin, where Shkreli served as CEO till he was tossed out by the board earlier this year, did the same thing to Thiola, used to treat a rare disease that causes kidney stones. The company took its monthly cost from $135 to upward of $2,700.
So much for "affordable" health care.
Here's another amazing example of just how pricey it is getting to stay healthy in the U.S. using non-natural medicines and treatments. Of course, treating yourself naturally is much less expensive. When it becomes cheaper to pay your house payment than buy an antibiotic, something is definitely amiss.
As noted by The New York Times, the long-enduring antibiotic doxycycline went from $20 a bottle (for 30 tabs) in October 2014 to an astounding $1,849 by April 2014. "Doxy", as it is nicknamed, was given to U.S. troops in Afghanistan to take daily as a means of warding off sickness from anthrax.
Clinton opponent Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has already introduced drug pricing legislation. Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings, D-Md., have been investigating drug price gouging and are expected to release a report later this year or early next.
This is "affordable healthcare?"While Obamacare was promised to Americans as a mechanism for holding down medical costs, the law cannot compensate for Big Pharma companies jacking up drug prices in a bid to boost bottom lines.
"Price hikes are a widespread strategy for growing sales -- just take a look at the increases in diabetes drug prices; Eli Lilly's Humulin went up by 325%, for instance, over the past five years," FiercePharma reported. "Or any number of brand price increases, topped by Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Xyrem (841% over 5 years ending in 2013)."
Guys like Shkreli argue that the price hikes are necessary to fund research and development.
That argument doesn't wash anymore – not when drugs are priced so high that they pay for there entire R&D budgets in less than two years.
As for Shkreli, he told The New York Times that his company needed the extra revenue to fund R&D for a better replacement drug for Daraprim. Interestingly, the physicians who spoke to the Times said there's no pressing need for one.
Here's something else to think about: if the government pledges to pay for these drugs, even at a negotiated reduced rate, taxpayers are still getting fleeced.
So much for that "cheaper healthcare" we were all promised.
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