Let’s talk about “Pharma Bro” AKA Martin Shkreli. As Chief Executive of Turing Pharmaceutical, he hiked up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750. The healthcare investors’ culture is so selfish, this guy literally spent millions of dollars on a Wu-Tang album just so none of us could hear it.
And Shkreli isn’t alone in his greed. Take Valeant, for instance, a drug company whose business plan was to simply buy smaller drug companies that had an effective monopoly over lifesaving drugs and then massively increase the price of the drug. people literally have to pay whatever the drugs cost or they will die. How is that legal? How is that a practice Congress allows?
Manufacturing:Build an American pharmaceutical manufacturer of last resort. We must have the domestic capacity to make life-saving drugs at a just cost whenever there is insufficient market competition to create a fair price. In other words, we must have a public insurance policy against the unmitigated greed of investors like “Pharma Bro.”
Market:We need to fix the market that develops medicine. This requires understanding how our outdated legal system impacts the healthcare economy, especially:
- Intellectual property law: Whenever the government funds research, the government must retain a property interest in any patents derived from that research. Taxpayers deserve a return on their investments.
- Anti-trust law: The dream of Capitalism is that competitive markets create efficiency and innovation. When markets are not competitive, we create shareholder value at the expense of efficiency and innovation. The government must intervene when markets are not competitive, especially when it comes to Healthcare.
- Campaign finance and lobbying: Big Pharma spends millions and millions of dollars on lobbying. They wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t a profitable investment. Here’s the thing – their profit comes at our expense. Campaign finance reform is critical to things like the opioid crisis and the cost of drugs
Opioid Crisis:There may be no clearer example of how our government valued shareholder interests over American lives than the opioid crisis. Like nicotine and lead, our government allowed corporations to poison us because the corporate profits were so great. They could afford to lobby away any regulations that would have protected us from life-threatening addiction. While we must increase funding to support those afflicted and increase alternative methods of pain management, we must also hold the beneficiaries accountable.
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