The Pulse of Natural Health Newsletter

Stay informed about what is hot in Washington and the states about natural health

Should Big Pharma Be on Your Holiday Gift List?

8

If you forgot the pharmaceutical industry, don’t worry. The federal government will take care of it for you.

The refrain we hear from representatives of the pharmaceutical industry is that drug costs are high because the research, development, and shepherding of drugs through the FDA’s approval process is astronomically costly. What they fail to mention is that the development of many blockbuster drugs are paid for by the taxpayers before being handed over to drug companies, which then proceed to charge exorbitant prices for the drug.

Take the example of Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug that costs over $9,700 per month. In 2015, global sales of Xtandi totaled $1.87 billion. The drug is being tested for possible use in the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer, meaning that profits could soar even higher.

Yet the research that led to the development of the drug was largely paid for by American taxpayers. Much of the R&D was conducted at UCLA, which sold the rights to the drug for over $500 million. UCLA was able to do the research through grants from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense. That’s not all: Medicare paid out $633 million for the drug in 2015, yet receives no discount for it. In fact, the cost of Xtandi is two to four times higher than in other countries!

US taxpayers paid for the research, the drug gets handed to Big Pharma, and then US taxpayers are gouged when they need to purchase the drug. Is there a more blatant example of cronyism in our healthcare system?

And don’t think that this is an isolated case: an estimated 40% of pharmaceutical research and development costs are underwritten by governments and private philanthropy—not by the drug companies that end up holding the patent and raking in the profits!

Remember, too, that Congress just voted to double down on this system: the 21st Century Cures Act includes billions of dollars for NIH to research and develop new drugs and cures, presumably to hand over to their Big Pharma cronies. (For more on this, see our accompanying article.)

Meanwhile, drug companies take advantage not only of these subsidies, but also of monopolies that are created and enforced by government. That is how Martin Shkreli increased the cost of a toxoplasmosis drug by 5,000% overnight, and why a new hepatitis C drug costs $1,000 a pill. This would not be happening in a market system. It is only possible thanks to our government.

See our earlier article for more reasons to “just say no” to legal drugs, and check out our accompanying video.

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Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:

Top Medical Crony to Be Retained by Trump Administration?

EPA Changes Its Tune on Fracking

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  • tsvieps

    I am alive only because of herbal medicine plus Big Pharma. The high cost of my drug has invited the development of new drugs that could cure my leukemia. As long as the FDA insists on a process that cost a $B to reach approval, the prices of approved drugs will need to stay high or they will not be developed. Any government sponsored research is normally available to all for followup drug or device development.

    I appreciate that you defend against FDA attacks on herbal supplements. I do not appreciate attacks on Big Pharma that could result in killing me.

    I also am taken aback by your attacks on Fracking. Of course, it can cause damage to local water when not done properly. So can many, many other things such a truck of gasoline falling into a river. Are you ready to outlaw gasoline trucks and oil pipelines and trains? Please stick to promoting organic food.

    • CHARLES S

      Its nice to know that YOU can afford or have excellent insurance that pays for your high cost of your drug. You seriously need to do better research on Big Pharma! Big Pharma does NOT care about your health, tsvieps; their bottom line PROFITS!!! Start with :

      Big Pharma now peddles psych drugs to toddlers; over a million currently drugged for profit, Big Pharma now wants to vaccinate babies while they’re still in the womb,

      The dirty history of Big Pharma’s scientific censorship, oppression and destruction of human knowledge, Collusion: DEA bans plant medicines, then Big Pharma patents them for profits, Drugs for your dogs? Big Pharma just won FDA approval for canine anxiety meds, and I could go on and on regarding the love you have for Big Pharma. Research Natural News or better yet subscribe to Jon Rappoport..investigative reporter for over 30 yrs….Get informed, tsvieps..

      • tsvieps

        I think you missed the point that Big Pharma saved my life when it came out with Ibrutinib. Before that Herbal medicine extended my life 6 years past the average life of my form of leukemia for those who took the standard protocol that includes chemo. I skipped that against the advice of my then oncologist, a very respected doc in Silicon Valley.

        I may know more about research that you imagine. I worked 40 years as R&D Product Development Scientist. Most of the time for HP. I was the only person in the world with my protocol for CLL. I had to figure out to whom to listen and did some research on my own. What is your scientific training? I have 2 degrees in physics.

        My unique protocol is now being recommended by oncologist to other patients. But it slowed down my cancer without reversing it. Adding Ibrutinib has caused it to recede. Even with Medicare D, Ibrutinib can be costly. But I am still a case of n=1. Because of my previous herbal and off-label prescription drugs, I manage to get full efficacy @ 1/10 the recommended dose. Herbal supplements are not covered by Medicare and cost me more than Ibrutinib. Truthfully, I mostly save the insurance company by using a low dose.

        Ibrutinib does not cure CLL and many become refractory to it. Because of the possibility of decent return on the $B or more it takes for a drug to be approved, 3 new drugs for CLL have been approved. Several more are in the pipeline. A combination of these has a decent chance of curing me.

        Tell me again why I should hate Big Pharm and would better off without them. If you think they make too much money, you can start your own drug company that charges less. I heard Apple also makes a lot of money. Does that disturb you?

        • lindsncal

          There’s a hundred and one reasons to hate our big phama today.
          Here’s just one: Healthcare CEO pay has risen twice as fast as any other industry. there are CEOs in the pharma ind. making $30 million a year..$83,000 a day.
          .. while at the same time, drug companies inflated prices for their drugs…creating record amounts of fines to drug companies for gouging the public. From 2003 to 2012, financial penalties paid by drug manufacturers to settle illegal marketing, price-gouging of government programs and other violations rose by more than 500%.
          Most were from overcharging gov’t health programs…medicare & medicaid.
          We spend $5,000 more per person on health care than the other developed countries ..

      • tsvieps

        “And as for support of “Fracking” check out :EPA and Obama administration finally admit fracking can affect our drinking water-Natl News or Oil and gas companies ”

        Hmmm…I said the same in my post. The point is that it does not need to do so. Fracking has been going on for decades. It can be perfectly environmentally sound. It is just that recently there has been more drilling for natural gas as the methods have improved. Natural Gas is the only economically viable energy source that can reduce CO2 output if that is a serious concern for you.

        By the way, I do not appreciate your personal attacks. I suggest you take couth lessons and practice them on your next posts.

        • lindsncal

          Hah…couth lessons. It gets to a point where there isn’t much left to say to those like you who defend issues that are so obviously indefensible.
          If you actually did the research instead of spewing corporate propaganda, you’d realize how wrong you are….but you don’t…and it gets old debating you….while the people and the planet suffer.
          good luck

    • lindsncal

      Uh, you just don’t get it.
      Compare how this is done here to how it’s done in the rest of the developed world to understand it.
      We are the only country that does not allow the medicare system to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. (thanks to bush)
      Healthcare spending around the world as percent of GDP, 2014:
      UK: 9.1% – Japan: 10.2% – Germany: 11.3% – France: 11.5% – Switzerland: 11.7% – Sweden 11.9% – …and those other countries cover everybody.
      U S: 17.1%
      And your defense of fracking is ridiculous.
      Apparently you read only what you want to hear.

  • mikies123

    More people are injured by correctly prescribed FDA approved drugs TSVIEPS is indeed fortunate. The vast majority are not so lucky. How many victims of Vioxx were there? Price gouging and death is built into the Pharma business model.