Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The long con: Big Pharma Quietly Enlists Leading Professors to Justify $1,000-Per-Day Drugs

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Ya gotta spend money to make money, amIrite? The payoffs required are enormous, but once they get in, they make tons of money, and jacking the price of drugs to boot. President Trump promised that he would take care of that and make a deal to roll back drug prices, but then he met with Big Pharma and said, “I don’t really see that there’s a problem here.” I wonder what that cost. Of course, since it opens a chute from the US Treasury via the Affordable Care Act, who cares about a little up-front. I bet Trump cost less than the total of professor payments.

Trump’s in the presidency for profit, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the above fantasy turned out to be somewhat along the lines of reality. And Trump sure reversed his stand on the One-China policy, coming out in favor of One-China once he got his name trademarked in China. The man knows how to make a deal. And no money changed hands: the funds will flow to Trump Inc., and the Chinese government will pay very little.

It’s so out in the open it’s staggering. Am I the only one to notice? If so, I cry, “Wolf! Wolf!”

Annie Waldman reports in ProPublica:

Over the last three years, pharmaceutical companies have mounted a public relations blitz to tout new cures for the hepatitis C virus and persuade insurers, including government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, to cover the costs. That isn’t an easy sell, because the price of the treatments ranges from $40,000 to $94,000 — or, because the treatments take three months, as much as $1,000 per day.

To persuade payers and the public, the industry has deployed a potent new ally, a company whose marquee figures are leading economists and health care experts at the nation’s top universities. The company, Precision Health Economics, consults for three leading makers of new hepatitis C treatments: Gilead, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and AbbVie. When AbbVie funded a special issue of the American Journal of Managed Care on hepatitis C research, current or former associates of Precision Health Economics wrote half of the issue. A Stanford professor who had previously consulted for the firm served as guest editor-in-chief.

At a congressional briefing last May on hepatitis C, three of the four panelists were current or former Precision Health Economics consultants. One was the firm’s co-founder, Darius Lakdawalla, a University of Southern California professor.

“The returns to society actually exist even at the high prices,” Lakdawalla assured the audience of congressional staffers and health policymakers. “Some people who are just looking at the problem as a pure cost-effectiveness problem said some of these prices in some ways are too low.”

Even as drug prices have come under fierce attack by everyone from consumer advocates to President Donald Trump, insurers and public health programs have kept right on shelling out billions for the new hepatitis C treatments, just as Precision Health Economics’ experts have urged them. With a battle looming between the industry and Trump, who has accused manufacturers of “getting away with murder” and vowed to “bring down” prices, the prestige and credibility of the distinguished academics who moonlight for Precision Health Economics could play a crucial role in the industry’s multipronged push to sway public and congressional opinion.

While collaboration between higher education and industry is hardly unusual, . . .

Continue reading. And ProPublica is another one I donate to. Not a lot: $5/month—so one quad-shot 16-oz latte to go, per month. Seems worth it for reports like these.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2017 at 1:56 pm

One Response

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  1. The original article by Propublica is worth reading and a bargain at $5/month for investigative journalism.

    Jan Lunde

    25 February 2017 at 6:49 am

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