The Big, Bad Pharma Strikes Again

Looks like the "Big Pharma" is back at it again... and this time, with vengeance.

What’s happening?

The big bad pharmaceutical industry is in the headlines yet again for performing another massive price gouge. This time, the drug in question, Lomustine, is used to help treat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

A Blast From the Past

In 2015, the infamous “Most hated man in America,” Martin Shkreli, raised the price of a drug called Darapim by over 400 percent. The drug price had already been raised before in 2010 from 1 dollar per pill to about 13 dollars per pill. Shkreli then came along and decided to raise it to 750 dollars per pill, which he was publicly shamed for by everyone with a human heart. He responded by saying that he did this for his “shareholder’s benefit … the political risk is being shamed, and shame isn’t dilutive to earnings per share.” However, in other interviews he claimed to be acting in the best interests of the patients.

A Blast from the… More Recent Past

Things soon spiraled out of control. Many drug companies soon followed in Martin’s footsteps in raising their prices to outrageous levels because of the lack of regulation against it. Some big names include the famed Epipen, whose price was raised from a little over 100 dollars in 2007 to over 600 dollars now. Clegene Corp also faced criticism by raising the price of two cancer drugs known as Revlimid and Pomalyst. These drugs are used to treat various rare cancers, including multiple myeloma and mantel cell lymphoma. These drugs are now worth 18,546 dollars and 15,833 dollars per bottle, respectively. In both cases, the companies claimed that the benefit would trickle down to their users and that they donated tons of medicine to people who couldn’t afford them. This, in theory, makes sense — that is, if it weren’t for the massive amount of paperwork that is required to get a single one of these famed donations.

Back to the Future

Now, in the present, the drug Lomustine has been raised to 768 dollars per pill as opposed to its previous price of 50 dollars per pill. The drug was originally owned by a company called Bristol Myers Squibb and later owned by NextSource in 2013. As of 2013, NextSource has changed its name to Gleostine and has changed its price over 16 times. The rapid change in pricing can especially be seen in 2017 when the price was raised by 20 percent in August and then again by 12 percent in November. In order to conceal their corruption, these companies claim that they are donating significant amounts of medicine and that they are using the profits to fund more research. This logic fails, however, because even if they are donating their drugs, many insurance companies are still forced to pay ridiculous prices, which negatively impacts the average consumer.

In Other News…

The One That (Thankfully) Got Away

Remember that potential pedophile policymaker from the Alabama Senate race that was defeated by his opponent? His name, in case you tried to erase it from your memory, is Roy Moore. Roy Moore lost the election to his opponent Doug Jones and became the first Republican to lose an election in Alabama in a long, long, long time. Many people saw this as a relief because his name was finally gone from the headlines. Unfortunately, this relief proved to be short lived as his attorneys decided to sue the state to prevent them from certifying Doug Jones as the actual winner of the special election. The Secretary of State for the state of Alabama has stated that this will not stop Jones from taking his seat in the Senate. In the meantime, Moore continues to ask for donations, saying that he will pursue “voter fraud” in his state.

Two Step Forwards, One Step Back

Back in the early 1900s, after World War I, the world attempted to create a global body to help prevent such another disaster from ever occurring again. As we all know, this failed and World War II occurred, which paved the way for the creation of the United Nations. This was a massive step forward for humanity as it heralded the beginning of an era of negotiations instead of war. Unfortunately, I guess we can only depend on the Trump administration to do one thing: step in the way of progress. After famously rage-quitting on the UN floor after nearly the whole planet condemned the United States, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced on Christmas Eve that the United States had managed to negotiate over 285 million dollars off the UN budget. She also went on to say that this was a major achievement for the United States. In a time when we desperately need to cling onto our allies, given how our President seems to be making us new enemies daily, this probably wasn’t the best move.

Christmas Without the Dinner

After a long year of protests and spectacular movements towards a dictatorship Maduro announced that he would provide subsidized meat (pork) for his citizens so they could celebrate with a traditional Christmas dinner. However, this was not the case, causing many to take to the streets in yet another protest. Maduro then decided to do the mature thing — and by that, I mean blaming Portugal. Portugal stated that they are a market economy, so the decisions to buy and sell pork belonged to companies as opposed to the state. This, of course, isn’t the first time Maduro has blamed somebody else for his failings — and it probably won’t be the last.

View Sources ∨

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34331761

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/28/martin-shkreli-daraprim-hiv-drug-price-hike-interview

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/09/22/turing-ceo-martin-shkreli-explains-that-4000-percent-drug-price-hike-is-altruistic-not-greedy/?utm_term=.eb620790a323

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/top-celgene-cancer-drugs-now-20-more-expensive-after-latest-price-hikes-2017-10-23

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cancer-drug-lomustine-price-hiked-1400-percent-by-new-owners/

https://www.rt.com/business/414344-cancer-drug-price-surge-lomustine/

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/28/roy-moore-lawsuit-alabama-race-doug-jones-319544

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/26/politics/nikki-haley-un-budget/index.html

https://usun.state.gov/remarks/8243

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics/venezuelans-protest-over-pork-shortage-maduro-blames-portugal-idUSKBN1EM1E9

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