Valeant Pharmaceuticals, “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, and now Mylan and the EpiPen – on their own, gross examples of corporate greed, but all together, the sign of a real and lasting flaw in the way we regulate and value medication.
The news making headlines this last week has been focused on EpiPen, the life-saving device for highly allergic children and adults which has seen a price increase of 500 percent in recent years. In response to public outrage, Mylan and its CEO has offered a litany of excuses for why they felt the need to raise the price, but it all falls a little flat under a bit of scrutiny.
So why does Big Pharma feel they can continue to mark up lifesaving drugs with almost no consequences? And if we have found this many examples of blatant greed, how many more are lurking just under the surface, awaiting discovery?
Likely quite a few.
So how can they continue getting away with this? The way they always have and always will – by greasing the palms of elected officials and lobbying aggressively for deceptive purposes.
Even now, Big Pharma has assembled an advocacy group which seeks to turn public opinion in a favorable direction by saturating the market with feel-good stories about the good that Big Pharma has done. These companies also focus nearly entirely on life-saving drugs so that they can claim to have a life-saving effect rather than a “acid-reflux reducing” one.
Saving lives and innovating products, that’s Big Pharma! And in the meantime, they continue to lobby congress for further protections rather than stricter regulations.
Until we can create some sort of regulatory ceiling on this free-for-all drug market, we will continue to see the Shkrelis of the world stealing from those who need these drugs the most.