Big Pharma and the FDA vs. Nutritional Supplements

“While the idea of admitting that a bureaucracy is necessary, I must also admit that marketers are liars and if left unregulated will rival politicians in their dishonesty when making product claims. Both admissions shake my libertarian sensibilities to the core.”
First, a free market eventually corrects for the condition of “marketers are liars,” unlike with politicians. Furthermore, not ALL marketers are liars.
Second, what makes you think the FDA, or any government bureaucracy for that matter, doesn’t lie? If one thinks we need an FDA, then one should think that we also need an EPA, FED, NLRB, EEOC, and on, and on, and on … further violating your libertarian sensibilities.
The head administrator of the FDA is pretty much a revolving door with Big Pharma:
is government regulation always the knee jerk reaction to every ill that affects society? Can you creatively think of some other solutions that don’t violate the Constitution of the United States? Keep reading, and maybe some other ideas will present themselves.
More people die every year from legalized drugs than from taking supplements, not to mention the drugs the FDA eventually gets around to recalling, after they’ve already done their damage. In addition, the FDA is continually pushed by vested interests (Big Pharma and lobbied government officials) to cut corners so that drugs can get to market faster. So much for the efficacy of the FDA! So, you want more of the same?
lot of medical doctors are in the back pocket of Big Pharma, not to mention the AMA:
can go here to find out if your particular doctor is on the take:

This post was published at Gary North on March 25, 2017.

After Years of Price Gouging, Mylan’s EpiPen Gets Crushed

Under onslaught of new competition, monopoly status collapses.
Mylan’s EpiPen – the center of one of the many blistering scandals on Big Pharma price gouging – is getting hammered in the market, as competitors have burst on the scene, and as health insurers and prescribing physicians have gotten the memo. Its market share plunged from 95% to 71% in just two months!
Mylan had acquired the rights to the decades-old product in 2007. At the time, pharmacies were charged less than $100 for a two-pen set. By 2009, pharmacies were charged $103.50 for a set. Then the annual price hikes set in – ‘peaking every year in August, when parents of children with severe allergies typically stock up on the life-saving devices for use in schools.’
In 2016, the price spike hit $608.61 – an increase of over 500% in a decade. And this finally kicked off the uproar that landed Mylan CEO Heather Bresch on the hot seat before the House oversight committee hearing on EpiPen price increases.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Mar 7, 2017.

Mylan’s EpiPen Gets Crushed (by New Competition)

Market share collapses from a state of near-monopoly.
Mylan’s EpiPen – the center of one of the many blistering scandals on Big Pharma price gouging – is getting hammered in the market, as competitors have burst on the scene, and as health insurers and prescribing physicians have gotten the memo. Its market share plunged from 95% to 71% in just two months!
Mylan had acquired the rights to the decades-old product in 2007. At the time, pharmacies were charged less than $100 for a two-pen set. By 2009, pharmacies were charged $103.50 for a set. Then the annual price hikes set in – ‘peaking every year in August, when parents of children with severe allergies typically stock up on the life-saving devices for use in schools.’
In 2016, the price spike hit $608.61 – an increase of over 500% in a decade. And this finally kicked off the uproar that landed Mylan CEO Heather Bresch on the hot seat before the House oversight committee hearing on EpiPen price increases.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Mar 7, 2017.

These Numbers Prove Big Pharma Is Scared of Trump

After just a little over one month in office, President Donald Trump has successfully loosened the big pharma industry’s grip on exorbitant drug price increases.
January is traditionally the month that sees the highest list price hikes from prescription drugmakers. But on Feb. 27, The Wall Street Journal reported that pharma companies did not raise prices for as many drugs as last year and imposed fewer boosts of 10% or greater.
In fact, January saw the lowest increases of drug prices in three years, with hikes over 10% limited to just 5.5% – 15% fewer than in 2015.
The reason for the pullback: Big pharma execs are hoping to stay out of the spotlight at a time when President Trump has called for stronger Medicare authority in negotiating prices and a ‘total overhaul’ of the healthcare system.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on February 27, 2017.

Those Systems That Aren’t Busy Being Born Are Busy Dying

What we have is a bunch of sclerotic, dying institutions and systems resisting anything and everything that threatens to disrupt the status quo.
One way to understand the rising sense of disintegration and discord around the globe is to realize that those systems that aren’t busy being born are busy dying–and virtually none of our primary systems are busy being born. The line is from Bob Dylan’s song It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding): “he not busy being born is busy dying.” What does busy being born mean? For both individuals and systems, it means adapting by advancing understanding, flexibility and capabilities. Systems that are dying are rigid, mal-adapted, resistant to change, obsessed with obscuring their failure and retaining their grip on cronyist privilege and power. Big Pharma: dying. Banking: dying. Governance, a.k.a. political processes: dying. Enforced consensus: dying.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2017.

Drug Prices in the US vs. Canada – The Big Pharma Political Connection of Corporatist Democrats

This is a slide used by Bernie Sanders when he proposed making drug imports from Canada to the US legal.
The proposal was voted down in the Senate 52-46, with a few key Democrats helping overturn Bernie’s proposed legislation.
Among those voting against it was the recipient of big pharma campaign contributions Democratic rising star Cory Booker.
Booker used the Big Pharma talking point that ‘the bill did not include provisions requiring the protections of the FDA.’
Oh really? We think that the Canadian government’s regulation of medicine is weaker than in the US? Please, Cory, tell us exactly where they fall down on the job.


This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 29 JANUARY 2017.

Profits over People: How Big Pharma’s Money Affects Our Health and Wallets

Americans pay the price. Earlier this month, I posted two articles on Big Pharma, back to back. The first one was my classic approach: How PE Firms Are Flipping Drugs in Price-Gouging Scheme that Cannibalizes the Entire US Economy (with 109 great comments).
The second one was coincidence. The digital ink wasn’t dry on the first article, when its was revealed that the Justice Department was getting antsy: ‘More than a Dozen’ Drugmakers under Criminal Investigation for Price-Fixing, Shares Plunge, after Getting Crushed All Year (56 great comments).
But as always, there’s more to it. Here are some hard numbers from a different angle that shed a lot of light on how the industry works.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ November 25, 2016.

FORMER DEA PRESCRIPTION HEAD DROPS A BOMBSHELL – CONGRESS PROTECTS BIG PHARMA & FUELS OPIOID CRISIS

Congress would rather protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies than the health of those addicted to dangerous opioid drugs, says a former head of the DEA responsible for preventing abuse of medications.
Joseph Rannazzisi, former Deputy Assistant Administrator at the U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency, asserts Big Pharma and its lobbyists have a ‘stranglehold’ on legislators in Congress and have engineered the protection of a $9 billion per year industry over the health of American citizens, according to a report from the Guardian.
‘Congress would rather listen to people who had a profit motive rather than a public health and safety motive,’ he said, according to the outlet. ‘As long as the industry has this stranglehold through lobbyists, nothing’s going to change.’
Rannazzisi explained lobbyists have spent millions thwarting legislative and policy efforts to provide guidelines for reducing the prescribing of opioid medications closely related to heroin – and helped limit the DEA’s powers to discipline those who dispense unusually high dosages of the same.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on OCTOBER 31, 2016.

Our Society Is Sick, Our Economy Exploitive and our Politics Corrupt

Any society that tolerates this systemic exploitation and corruption as “business as usual” is not just sick–it’s hopeless.
In noting that our society is sick, our economy exploitive and our politics corrupt, I’m not saying anything you didn’t already know. Everyone who isn’t being paid to deny the obvious in public (while fuming helplessly about the phony cheerleading in private) knows that our society is a layer-cake of pathologies, our economy little more than institutionalized racketeering and our politics a corrupt auction-house of pay-for-play, influence-peddling, money-grubbing and brazen pandering for votes.
The fantasy promoted by do-gooders and PR hacks alike is that this corrupt system can be reformed with a few minor policy tweaks. If you want a brief but thorough explanation of Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, please take a look at my book (link above).
If you want an example of how the status quo has failed and is beyond reform, it’s instructive to examine the pharmaceutical industry, which includes biotech corporations, specialty pharmaceutical firms and the global corporate giants known as Big Pharma.
I hope it won’t come as too great a surprise that the pharmaceutical industry isn’t about cures or helping needy people–it’s about profits. As a Big Pharma CEO reported in a brief moment of truthfulness, We’re in Business of Shareholder Profit, Not Helping the Sick
Here’s an excerpt from the article:

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on AUGUST 21, 2016.

This is by How Much ($$) Big Pharma Fools Investors

A scheme we call ‘consensual hallucination.’
Yesterday, we were bashing big pharmaceutical companies for jacking up prices of patent-protected drugs at obscene rates. Those double-digit price increases were largely responsible for the sales increases these companies reported. Drugs have become the largest wholesale category, at $54.3 billion in May, or 12.2% of total wholesales.
This boom is based on price increases at a great cost to US consumers and taxpayers. It’s cannibalizing the rest of the economy. But it’s made possible by the abuse of the patent system, the increasingly monopolistic structures in the industry after a tsunami of mergers funded by cheap credit and a soaring stock market – as planned by the Fed – along with legislators and regulators that have been compromised by the big money and the revolving door [read… This is What’s Cannibalizing the US Economy].
And we said that investors were soaking up the money. But even investors are getting schemed.
In its report released on Friday, FactSet projects that the health-care sector in the S&P 500 will show revenue growth of 7.8% in the second quarter. But even ‘adjusted’ ex-bad-items earnings – a classic in American fiction – is expected to grow by only 2.2% (even as revenues and ‘adjusted’ earnings for the S&P 500 overall are expected to fall once again).
But it’s even worse. As reported under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which all publicly traded companies in the US have to use for their required financial reports, these Q2 earnings in the health-care sector are likely to drop.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ July 16, 2016.

This is by How Much ($$) Big Pharma Misleads Investors

In a scheme we call ‘consensual hallucination.’
Yesterday, we were bashing big pharmaceutical companies for jacking up prices of patent-protected drugs at obscene rates. Those double-digit price increases were largely responsible for the sales increases these companies reported. Drugs have become the largest wholesale category, at $54.3 billion in May, or 12.2% of total wholesales.
This boom is based on price increases at a great cost to US consumers and taxpayers. It’s cannibalizing the rest of the economy. But it’s made possible by the abuse of the patent system, the increasingly monopolistic structures in the industry after a tsunami of mergers funded by cheap credit and a soaring stock market – as planned by the Fed – along with legislators and regulators that have been compromised by the big money and the revolving door [read… This is What’s Cannibalizing the US Economy].

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ July 16, 2016.

Big Pharma Trips Over the Maxed-out American Consumer

Even as Prescription Drug Volume Stagnates, Prices Soar.
Total US spending on prescription drugs in 2015, at the manufacturers’ level and as measured by ‘invoice pricing,’ jumped by 12.2% to $424.8 billion, after having already soared 14.2% in 2014! A two-year increase of 28%!
So you’d think we’d get some results for all this moolah. But no.
Life expectancy in the US, at 78.7 years at birth, ranks between 34th and 52nd place globally, depending on who does the counting, wedged somewhere between Bahrain and Cuba, and about 5 years below the top. Among US states, life expectancy ranges from 81.3 years in Hawaii or 80.8 years in California to 74.9 years in Mississippi. It’s bad. But we handed Big Pharma a ballooning amount of money to get there.
This $424.8 billion in prescription drug spending at ‘invoice pricing’ isn’t based on what Americans or their health insurers pay. According to IMS Health, which released the report, it reflects invoice pricing by drug companies to distributors. It includes neither price concessions by drug companies nor the ‘mark-ups and additional costs’ before these drugs get to patients.
Another metric is ‘net price spending.’ It’s based on the same wholesale prices but after ‘rebates, off-invoice discounts, and other price concessions made by manufacturers to distributors, health plans, and intermediaries.’ And it jumped by 8.5% to $309.5 billion.

This post was published at Wolf Street on April 14, 2016.

Legal Speed

Step on up folks and get your dose of legal speed brought to you by the pushers at Big Pharma, Inc.
Have trouble with ADD, ADHD or Binge Eating Disorder? Try Vyvance! Another legal amphetamine produced by Big Pharma and available through your friendly neighborhood doctor, aka legal drug pusher. Pay no attention to that ‘sudden death’ side effect experienced by some users. Amphetamines are good for you! That is, if you buy them off of the guys in the white coats.
You see, it’s perfectly okay from society’s standpoint to be on speed if it is prescribed by a doctor. A legal high. Yet, get the same thing off the street corner dealer and you are a felon. Hypocrisy, plain and simple.
A classic good guy vs. bad guy scenario. The good guys are the ones in the lab coats. The bad guys are in the shadows. We love our movies, don’t we!
Both are drug dealers, but the ‘good guys’ are endorsed by the government mafia and the ‘bad guys’ are freelancers. And there are penalties imposed for not purchasing from the ‘good’ guys. Penalties such as jail, sudden death from lead poisoning, you get the picture. The ‘law’ looks down on that sort of disobedience.

This post was published at FarmWars on March 3, 2016.

Guest Post: What Trumpism Means For Democracy

Whether or not Donald Trump ultimately succeeds in winning the White House, historians are likely to rank him as the most consequential presidential candidate of at least the past half-century. He has already transformed the tone and temper of American political life. If he becomes the Republican nominee, he will demolish its structural underpinnings as well. Should he prevail in November, his election will alter its very fabric in ways likely to prove irreversible. Whether Trump ever delivers on his promise to “Make America Great Again,” he is already transforming American democratic practice.
Trump takes obvious delight in thumbing his nose at the political establishment and flouting its norms. Yet to classify him as an anti-establishment figure is to miss his true significance. He is to American politics what Martin Shkreli is to Big Pharma. Each represents in exaggerated form the distilled essence of a much larger and more disturbing reality. Each embodies the smirking cynicism that has become one of the defining characteristics of our age. Each in his own way is a sign of the times.
In contrast to the universally reviled Shkreli, however, Trump has cultivated a mass following that appears impervious to his missteps, miscues, and misstatements. What Trump actually believes — whether he believes in anything apart from big, splashy self-display — is largely unknown and probably beside the point. Trumpism is not a program or an ideology. It is an attitude or pose that feeds off of, and then reinforces, widespread anger and alienation.
The pose works because the anger — always present in certain quarters of the American electorate but especially acute today — is genuine. By acting the part of impish bad boy and consciously trampling on the canons of political correctness, Trump validates that anger. The more outrageous his behavior, the more secure his position at the very center of the political circus. Wondering what he will do next, we can’t take our eyes off him. And to quote Marco Rubio in a different context, Trump ‘knows exactly what he is doing.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/05/2016.

AUSTRALIAN GOVT TRIES TO DISTANCE ITSELF FROM ITS LAUGHABLY BAD ANTI-POT ‘STONER SLOTH’ ADS

Sometimes in the so-called war against drugs, bureaucrats who have a vested interest in protecting megacorporate financial interests (like, say, that of big pharmaceutical companies for example) do something that’s so completely ridiculous, it actually has the opposite effect and backfires. Big time.
Meet ‘Stoner Sloth,’ tagline ‘You’re worse on weed,’conceived by New South Wales’ National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre:


This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 21, 2015.

Here’s the Lowdown on Big Pharma’s Mega-Merger Mania

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Economy and Markets. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Last spring, I found myself at a wedding talking to my cousin about ‘poison pills.’
Not the Romeo and Juliet kind. The shareholder rights plans – known as ‘poison pills’ – that corporations use to discourage hostile takeovers.
I hadn’t seen this cousin in years. But the first words out of her mouth were literally:
‘Adam! You’re an investments guy… have you heard anything about [pharmaceutical company] trying to buy [another pharmaceutical company]!?’

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Adam O’Dell ‘ November 27, 2015.