Posts Tagged ‘pharma’

high pharma prices in the USA

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

High prices for prescription drugs are not the only reason for the high cost of medical care in the US, but it is an important reason. Here is an ungated paper that seeks to explain how, and especially why, pharmaceutical companies charge so much, and are so profitable. The simple reason is they can get away with it!

Here is about half of an informative abstract from the full working paper. I especially recommend the paper’s conclusion, “How to Fix US Pharma

price-gouging by big pharma

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

A new pharmaceutical company, with an office in Alabama but no production facilities, has simplified things by charging the same price ($295) for two products (Niacor and SSKI), which previously sold for $32.46 (100 tablets) and $11.48 (30ml) respectively. (more…)

the high price of pills for cancer

Monday, May 1st, 2017

The Financial Times has a must-read column in today’s paper on the pricing of drugs for treatment of cancer. The article is gated, but those who register without charge are allowed to download three FT articles each month. This article is long, and very informative. It might be a good use of one of your free downloads this month. (more…)

lunch with the most hated man in America

Friday, October 28th, 2016

This week the FT invited the personification of US corporate greed to lunch. He is Martin Shkreli, a 33-year old American entrepreneur. Some background is useful for this FT interview. I culled the following from Wikipedia.

Mr Shkreli was born in Brooklyn, NY, to Albanian and Croatian immigrants who worked as janitors. He dropped out of high school before his senior year, and managed to earn a BA in business administration from Baruch College in 2004. He was a very successful businessman, co-founding two firms (a hedge fund and a biotechnology firm) before founding Turing Pharmaceuticals.

In September 2015, as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Shkreli obtained the manufacturing license for Daraprim, a life-saving drug for AIDS and cancer patients, and immediately raised its price from US$13.50 to US$750 per tablet. This lead him to be known as the “most hated man in America”. (more…)

tax avoidance vs tax evasion

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Last week I posted a TdJ on the ‘takeover’ of Pfizer, the US pharmaceutical giant, by Dublin-based Allergan, a move that allows Pfizer to move its company headquarters to Ireland. British economist John Kay (born 1948) has since published a column explaining that the planned merger is legal tax avoidance rather than illegal tax evasion.

Allergan (formerly known as Actavis and before that as Watson) describes itself as pioneering a new model in the drug sector. This model appears to be that of an investment company trading pharmaceuticals businesses.

Dublin-based Allergan is as authentically Irish as an empty bar on a Saturday night; its operational headquarters are in New Jersey.

The planned merger is a tax inversion, a device that enables a US company with accumulated profits overseas to use them more freely without incurring US tax liability.

John Kay, “The fine line between tax evasion and avoidance“, Financial Times, 2 December 2015 (metered paywall).

There is much more in the full column. In a few days it will be possible to download a free, ungated version of the column from Mr Kay’s home page.


tax avoidance by Pfizer

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Why did Pfizer, the huge US pharmaceutical company, merge with Allergan, a company registered in Ireland? The answer is simple. The merged company, now domiciled in low-tax Ireland, becomes more profitable at the expense of US taxpayers. There is no other reason for the two companies to merge.

At the request of a loyal TdJ reader, here is information that I gleaned from an editorial published yesterday in the Financial Times. Why do companies do such things? Because they can get away with it. Why do they get away with it? Good question. I suspect it is because they have a lot of money, and politicians need money to finance their expensive campaigns for election.


big pharma payments to physicians

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Two professors from the Rady School of Management, University of California-San Diego, joined by an economist from the University of Washington School of Public Health, have analysed data of

fake science

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

The current issue of Nature contains a damning article on the unreliability of results from cancer research.

The scientific community assumes that the claims in a preclinical study can be taken at face value

superbugs from India

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Overuse of antibiotics and poor sanitation in India have created a very nasty form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria against which even last-resort drugs are powerless. Thanks in part to medical tourism, these superbugs will be coming soon to a hospital near you.

[I]n 2010, a study of a New Delhi-area hospital found that 24 percent of bacterial infections there could resist the last-resort carbapenem antibiotics. Thirteen percent not only resisted carbapenem drugs, but overcame 14 other antibiotics, making treatment options exceedingly limited. The gene that conferred this extreme drug-resistance was dubbed “New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1” or NDM-1. Scientists found that, unlike other drug-resistant bacteria, NDM-1 bacteria are able to quickly and prolifically spread their genes to other bacteria, easily jumping the barriers of species and genus. The pandemic potential of such a microbe is enormous. Indeed, according to Tim Walsh, a University of Cardiff medical microbiologist who has been chasing the dangerous gene, NDM-1 infections already turned up in more than 35 countries last year — often in the bodies of medical tourists, who had traveled to India or Pakistan for cheap surgeries and other procedures.

subsidies for big pharma

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

George W. Bush’s $600 billion subsidy of prescription drugs for seniors (Medicare Modernization Act of 2003) was a bonanza for pharmaceutical companies, but did it reduce expenditure on other health care services or improve the lives of seniors? Apparently not, concludes a study of the records of 12,000 nationally representative seniors who were interviewed four times a year from 2000 through 2007.

The authors find that … “gaining prescription drug insurance … was associated with [a] 63 percent increase in the number of annual prescriptions.” The increase in prescriptions filled had no discernable effect on the use of other health care services or on health status as measured by functional status or self-reported health.

Robert Kaestner and Nasreen Khan, “Medicare Part D and its Effect on the Use of Prescription Drugs, Use of Other Health Care Services and Health of the Elderly”, NBER Working Paper No. 16011, May 2010.

Summary by Linda Gorman.