Drug companies are now threatening to delay the release of life-saving medications because they’re mad that they may not be able to gouge American consumers like they used to. The government is now able to negotiate drug prices for 10 drugs covered for Medicare patients, and the drug companies are ready to send you to an early grave to stop that from happening. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


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

Mike Papantonio: Drug companies are now threatening to delay the release of lifesaving medications because they’re just mad that they may not be able to gouge the American consumers, steal from the American consumers like they used to. The government’s now able to negotiate drug prices for only 10 drugs. Only 10 drugs. Medicare patients, drug companies are so upset that, gee whizz the government is actually gonna be able to negotiate. This company, I have been toe to toe with. This is the most disgusting leadership I’ve ever seen, and I’ve handled virtually every major pharmaceutical case in the country. I mean, there’s very few that I haven’t handled that were the big cases. This is a Swiss company. It’s Genentech, but it’s Roche. Okay. And if you look at the Roche, the history, they are hyenas. That’s the way I describe these people. Top to bottom hyenas. But they’re saying here, we’re going to allow women that have cervical cancer to die. And we’re not gonna push research because we’re mad, they’ve upset us. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. That is exactly what this is saying. Again, another awesome report from The Lever news service here. And, so you’ve got Roche, Genentech, telling us that, oh, well we’ve developed this amazing cancer drug for women. We could save tons of lives, but, oh, this Biden administration’s making us negotiate the price of one drug.

Mike Papantonio: For 10 drugs.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Across all the pharmaceutical companies. And we don’t even know, by the way, if any of them are Roche drugs.

Mike Papantonio: No idea.

Farron Cousins: They released the list this week. But anyway, so Roche is saying, well, we just, we can no longer afford to put it into testing. We’re gonna start delaying our drugs if you’re gonna make us not gouge consumers because that’s what this is. They can still, in other countries, charge a thousand percent markup and still make tons of money. But here in the US we are talking about 20000% markups. 40000% markups. There are some drugs, and you and I have sat here and talked about ’em, the markups are over 250000% on the markups.

Mike Papantonio: Well, not only that, we gave this company, not we, the government gave this company a tax break, right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: And they ended up making billions, 10, was it $10 billion somewhere in that range?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: $10 billion just in what taxpayers gave them as a break. Right. On top of that, taxpayers have been involved in paying for most of the research that goes into their drugs. They pay for it at universities where all this research is done, then the company comes in and scoops that up. Now, in this situation, this is really what they’re saying. They’re saying, you know what? We’re going to delay the release of an effective drug for ovarian cancer. Okay. We’re gonna let women die of ovarian cancer. We think we have one. We think we’re onto it, but we’re gonna delay it. And so if you take a look at this company, there’s no surprises here. They’ve got a history. It’s a terrible history. They were sued about lying and hiding serious adverse health problems. They hid ’em for dozens of drugs over a decade. They were sued for bilking the government for $1.5 billion on the Tamiflu case. This is who you’re dealing with. By the way, we gotta get a picture of this guy. His name, he’s Roche CEO. His name is Thomas Schinecker. Well, Mr. Schinecker here says that this is good for our investors. Hell with the women who are dying of cervical cancer. That’s literally what he is saying, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins: Yeah, it is. And over the last 10 years, this company, Roche, has spent more on stock buybacks than they have on research and development. Most research and development by drug companies is actually funded by the US government, by taxpayers. It’s done at the university level. It’s done at the private level. But most of that money, 75% of it comes from taxpayers.

Mike Papantonio: You wanna hear another part of the taxpayer story. When this company gets caught for making, and they have been making a bad product or having to pay out money wherever it is, because they’ve screwed up intentionally, just been derelict in their duty to make a drug safe. When they do that, and they pay out these claims, those claims are tax write-offs. It comes out of taxpayer’s pocket. And we allow them to do this. But this is a mobster quality organization. I mean, there’s thugs and this Schinecker, whether he’s, I don’t know where he is, Swiss or whatever, they know exactly what they’re doing is they’re toying with women’s lives because, gee whizz, we don’t have enough money. Most of their money is not spent in research. It’s spent on advertising. The overwhelming amount of money that a company like this spends, Roche, especially, it’s on advertising.

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.