Via America’s Lawyer: Prices for over 300 prescription drugs are set to increase in 2021 as the pandemic rages on. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Like clockwork, drug companies are raising their prices again, even with renewed scrutiny on the industry and their price gouging. I have Farron Cousins from the trial lawyer magazine to talk to me about that. You know what I equate this with Farron, at the end of the year, the chemical companies, when nobody’s paying attention, they’re, everybody’s celebrating the holidays. That’s when they release all of their toxins, more toxins are released during the holiday season when nobody’s paying attention. So these toxins, this is a different kind of toxin. You have the pharmaceutical company raising prices when nobody’s paying attention.

Farron Cousins:                  A lot of it has to do also with the fact that people’s insurance rolls over again in January.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  So if you had already hit deductible, suddenly you’ve got to go back to paying for your prescriptions in January. Oh, the price is up, but that’s because I haven’t hit deductible. They want you to think that no, no, no. This is probably something with your insurance. Not because we just decided, hey, let’s raise the prices because we can.

Mike Papantonio:             Interesting.

Farron Cousins:                  And it’s that phrase right there, because we can.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And you actually, you’ve dealt with that firsthand that I, I you’ve told this story so many times. I love it because it explains it all. But you were in a depo over in Europe with a major drug company and you actually called them out to their faces on this and tell, tell us what happened. It’s crazy.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. I’m taking the deposition and the price, they had marked up their price compared to the US number, US prize something like 200% higher. And so I was focusing on that, even though it was a defective drug, it was killing people. I thought, well, I got a few minutes. Let me, let me ask this question. And I said, well, what’s the difference? Why do you, why are your prices higher in America, in the US than they are over here in Europe? And he said, because we can, literally. So, because we can means that we get Xanax, for example, a 569000% markup on Xanax. Not because it’s a new drug, not, it’s because they can. Zoloft 11,000, almost 12000% markup. Prozac 225% markup on Prozac. Now there is no argument, gee, we, we had to pay for research.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             These products have been out for a long time. What’s your take?

Farron Cousins:                  They really have. And people have to understand too, when we get these stories, like what came out of Reuters recently saying, oh, well, they’re saying it’s only going to be at most a 10% markup for some of these drugs. When you look at these numbers and it’s okay, but it’s already marked up 225000%. So an extra 10% would be technically, off your costs, 25000%, because it literally costs them pennies to produce each individual pill. The government is paying for more than 75% of the R and D. We pay for our drugs twice because of that, because that’s tax dollars, then consumer costs, the whole system is out of control. And everybody in power has just kind of said, well, I guess it is just what it is.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, okay. So everybody in power, the Democrats and Republicans have allowed this to happen. Simple solution, they, everybody should be able to negotiate the, negotiate prices with these folks.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Hospitals, we don’t, we’re not going to pay that. We need to, we need to negotiate the price. And so Trump, one of the few things he did, he said we’re, there’s going to be a cut back and he put it in place.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             He actually put this effort to cut back drugs in place. Got federal judges now they’re trying to interrupt that, you know, what, what’s Biden going to do? What, what’s your call?

Farron Cousins:                  Unfortunately, I don’t know that he’s really going to do anything. You know, he’s come out very strongly against Medicare for All.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, he’s kind of taken the industry position on that. And he says, well, we want to expand the affordable care act. Okay. The affordable care act got people insurance, but it hasn’t done anything at all to reduce the costs. Nobody that’s in a position to do something about it has a plan to actually reduce costs.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, Trump with his most favored nation status executive order.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  That’s a good thing, but it only covers, I believe the Medicare drugs. We got to get it for everything in this country.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So the Democrats, are they going to bail us out based on the history of what we’ve seen over the years?

Farron Cousins:                  Oh, hell no.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. I don’t think so either.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.