Home Politics Dear Mr. President: Turn Your Tweets on Big Pharma

Dear Mr. President: Turn Your Tweets on Big Pharma


In recent days, Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman, the infamous leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel was extradited from Mexico. Finally, el Chapo, the evildoer is in custody for good. Over the years, Chapo lead a drug distribution chain that brought billions of dollars into its coffers. The proceeds were then stashed in hiding places out of the reach of American authorities. What happened in Mexico with all the loot is a whole other story.

The extradition was a huge victory but it hasn’t stopped Americans from numbing out on illegal weed, heroin and other drugs at a record pace. It is a tragedy of epic proportions.

But then, Americans can also turn to Oxy Contin and other opiate based “pain management” treatments or just for good old numbing out. Oxy Contin is every bit as addictive as heroin and evildoer; Perdue Pharma has paid $600 million in fines for mislabeling the drug. Its leaders were personally fined $34.5 million. But did these guys go to jail. No, these cartel Capos were merely charged with a misdemeanor and released.

The American drug industry has a more effective way of creating hiding places for cash then the Sinaloa cartel. It is called the tax inversion merger and it is the perfect way to keep cash of the reach of American authorities.

Are we starting to see the irony here?

The American drug cartel is bigger, stronger and more powerful than Sanaloa or el Chapo. Bernie Sanders speaks the truth; Americans spend more on prescription drugs than any other nation, why?

Case in point: a 30-day supply of the blood thinner Xarelto is advertised by super discounter Wal-Mart at $392.41. I recently priced a thirty-day supply of the identical drug in Canada and Mexico for roundly $80.00. Of course, there is always the risk of counterfeit drugs for foreign sources, but when you think about it the risk is actually greater in the US. The market is so much bigger here; there is more markup than anywhere else.

Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan Labs, maker of the $600 EpiPen blamed the number of hands that touch the product on the way to the consumer. Claimed Bresch, each of these adds to the cost. If there are intelligent people out there who actually believe this crap, here are some mind-altering facts.

The United States has one of the most efficient distribution systems anywhere in the world. To reach the highest paying retail consumer, manufacturers either sell directly to a chain retailer like CVS or through a wholesale distributor like McKesson or AmeriSource Bergen. The wholesale markup is only about 10%-12%; that’s peanuts. Mexico has a much less efficient system yet still manages to deliver drugs far more cheaply.

Prescription pharmaceutical pricing in the US, however, is as byzantine as any you can imagine. There are prices for retail, different ones for hospitals, a third if the product is destine of countries outside the US and one for the Veterans Administration. By far the biggest supply of drugs goes though retail and that happens to be where prices are the highest.

There is no other industry in America that is so needlessly complex. How does this happen? Manufacturing costs are typically only 5%-10% of manufacturers selling price. This means they are less than 1%-2% of what the consumer pays. Research and development costs run about 10% of MSP. There is no reason any of these facts suggest drug prices need to be so high even if you through in the vastly inflated cost of Washington lobbyist.

The load of lies and distortions goes beyond Mylan and extends to the entire pharma industry. The trouble is, America keeps buying into it, acting like a helpless victim.

What this country truly needs is a really mean nasty SOB that wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to insult, berate, demean and otherwise rip the pharmaceutical makers to pieces all in the name of getting his own narcissistic way. Now if there were only such a person in the government, our biggest healthcare problem would be solved.

If anyone knows where such a person can be found, please let us know.

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