Perspectives: It May Be Fun To Hate On Martin Shkreli, But Pharma Bros Aren’t The Real Problem
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Slapping Around Martin Shkreli Won’t Cut Drug Prices
If you’re a prosecutor or a regulator looking to get a little good press, one surefire approach is to sue Martin Shkreli, the infamous “pharma bro.” ... Shkreli is a perfect target. Five years ago, he became the symbol for outrageous drug prices after he raised the cost of his company’s one drug, Daraprim, to $750 a pill from $13.50 — and then basically laughed at everyone who complained. His nonstop smirking during a subsequent congressional hearing infuriated lawmakers. In the spring of 2018, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for committing financial fraud. Last year, he was transferred from federal prison in New Jersey after the Journal reported that he was using a contraband mobile phone to run the company from his cell. (Joe Nocera, 1/30)
What Record-High Funding For Neglected Diseases Doesn’t Tell Us About R&D For Them
In recent weeks, scientists have raced to understand the deadly new coronavirus and develop new tools to diagnose and contain it. As with past emerging threats, I’ve been impressed to see how this novel virus has mobilized collective action that transcends borders, sectors, and individual interests over such a short period. During those same few weeks, more familiar pathogens have been quietly exacting a far heavier toll on human health and prosperity. Neglected diseases like diarrheal illnesses, tuberculosis, malaria, and pneumonia kill thousands of people every day. But because they have been doing so for decades, they simply don’t catalyze the same urgency we see in the face of a novel, fast-moving outbreak. (Nick Chapman, 2/4)
Trump Said He'd Battle Big Pharma. Instead, He Let It Run The White House.
In 2016, President Donald Trump said, “I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.” In his February 2017 address to Congress, he said he would “bring them down immediately.” In his 2018 State of the Union address, he said “fixing the injustice of high drug prices” was one of his administration’s top priorities. In his 2019 State of the Union address, he said of sky-high drug prices: “This is wrong, this is unfair, and together we will stop it — and we’ll stop it fast.” Americans are facing a prescription drug cost crisis of devastating proportions, all while big pharmaceutical companies and their CEOs are making money hand over fist. In 2016, for the first time in a long time, policymakers seemed to be on the same page about the need to take on Big Pharma and tackle this challenge. Instead, three years since Trump committed to getting this done, prices continue marching upward, patients are still paying the price, and people across the country deserve to know why. (Kyle Herrig, 1/24)
Why We Need Transparency In Prescription Drug Pricing
Imagine a cell phone made in the mid-nineties — a big clunky piece of equipment that had one function, to make and receive calls. These devices certainly were not equipped with fancy apps and a camera, let alone the ability to access your email or the internet. Yet, back then, the ability to make wireless phone calls was worth the price of that big, clunky cell phone. However, would you ever pay the price of the latest iPhone today for a 1990s cell-phone? No, of course not. Well, that is exactly what is happening with our prescription drug market in the United States and it simply does not make any free-market, economical sense. (Dylan Roberts, 2/4)