The Prominent Scapegoat for “Big Pharma”

I actually am lifting this from a Facebook post I made last night referencing this video interview that I watched yesterday morning & then expounding a little.

While some of it irked me, I did at least appreciate the opportunity to see this man’s thought process.

Yes, he’s the most prominent person to champion the trend of raising drug prices to increase profit margins.

But — he’s not the only one.

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After watching an interesting video on Martin Shrkeli in which he said that no patient is denied his company’s drug Daraprim (even if they can’t afford it with the price increase), I was curious. I went to the Turing Pharmaceuticals website & then looked under Daraprim to find the eligibility guidelines & income criteria for their patient assistance program. (Reference: Daraprim Patient Assistance)

Only very general info is there. With only this DISCLAIMER at the bottom: Please note that all financial assistance programs are subject to terms and conditions and eligibility requirements. Contact 1-800-222-4991 to discuss your eligibility for these programs.

I thought it was suspect that it doesn’t state the terms & conditions on the website or the eligibility requirements ANYWHERE in writing, as most patient assistance programs I used to locate for people (when I was a customer service representative for a health plan administrator) did.

But for benefit of the doubt & arguments sake here’s what I found on Lipitor to compare & test my hunch at their patient assistance link:
Eligibility: The patient must either have no prescription coverage, or not enough coverage, to pay for their prescribed Pfizer medicine(s). The patient must also have an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, adusted for family size, in order to qualify.
Who Can Apply: Anyone who has been prescribed a Pfizer medicine and is in need of assistance can download an application and apply online and apply to the program.

See! The basic minimum for assistance is CLEARLY outlined. (Reference: Lipitor Patient Assistance)

Sorry, Martin. Even if there were salient points made in your interview, you’re still dodging the overall question & problem. Your justifications don’t hold weight.

Let’s assume that patient has a $5K deductible. He has to pay your company that $750 until the deductible is met, then the insurance picks up. It’s not always just automatically assigned to the insurance carrier. Even in some cases the patient may also have a copay for the medicine (which might be higher than the $10 you state on the website. Especially if they don’t meet the program’s eligibility requirements). Either way they share in the cost.

That’s 4,000 people that are getting gouged with this hike in some shape or form. But what do I know? I’m not a hedge fund extraordinaire or pharma executive.

I was just the type of person who would get an earful on the phone with this type of issue when any drug company pulled the stunt of raising prices (which they do often).

I couldn’t justify it. I couldn’t offer up any good answers. Because there’s nothing more to offer other than companies want to increase their bottomline.  In essence, make more money at someone else’s expense.

Of course he’s not the only one doing the gouging (I am in no way defending him). It doesn’t make this practice right. This trend as a whole needs to stop.

We need reforms to the laws if what he’s using to justify his stance as just “business as usual in compliance with the law” is true.

Here’s a news report that proves this larger issue of pricing is an industry wide problem.

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3 thoughts on “The Prominent Scapegoat for “Big Pharma”

  1. I am always deeply disturbed that because the U.S. operates under the guise of a “free market,” our health depends upon whether or not we have insurance, if that insurance will pay for a particular drug (or test, or doctor), and whether or not the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies can make enough of a profit off of our acute and chronic illnesses.

    Liked by 2 people

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