As Canada-US trade-war draws nigh, so does the threat to nationalise US pharma patents

Last June, U of Ottawa law professor/biomedical scientist Amir Attaran floated the idea of invalidating US pharma patents as a way for Canada to retaliate against trade attacks by the Trump administration. Read the rest

"Spread Pricing" transparency reveals the millions CVS rakes in by gouging Medicare and prisons on prescription markups

CVS isn't just in the business of operating retail pharmacies: equally important is its prescription administration services, where it buys drugs from independent pharmacies, marks them up, and sells them to government-run programs like Medicare and prisons, using "spread pricing" to determine the markup that it applies to generic drugs. Read the rest

Former Obama trade official teams up with Trump to create highly profitable TB epidemics in poor countries

When Josh Black quit his job as Obama's director for U.N. and Multilateral Affairs after the 2016 election (citing "growing disillusionment"), he found a sweet job as Associate Vice President for International Advocacy at Phrma, the global lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry, which meant that he still got to work at the UN, but now he'd be advocating for giant, rapacious corporations that hold peoples' lives hostage to their profits! (speaking as a former NGO observer at the World Intellectual Property Organization from the era of the Access to Medicines treaty, Phrma are effectively public health war criminals). Read the rest

Four Thieves Vinegar Collective: DIY epipens were just the start, now it's home bioreactors to thwart Big Pharma's price-gouging

When last we met the Four Thieves Vinegar collective -- a group of anarchist scientists who combine free/open chemistry with open source hardware in response to shkrelic gouging by pharma companies -- they were announcing the epipencil, a $30 DIY alternative to the Epipen, Mylan's poster-child for price-gouging and profiteering on human misery. Read the rest

Appeals court kills the dirty trick of using Indian tribes as a front for patent trolls and claiming sovereign immunity

In late 2017, we learned that patent trolls (especially pharma patent gougers) were paying US Native Indian tribes to act as fronts for them in order to block review and cancellation of bogus patents -- the tribes have a treaty right to "sovereign immunity," which protects them from some forms of litigation. Read the rest

Shkrelifreude: while Martin Shkreli rots in prison, his price-gouging pharma company is hemorrhaging money

Smirking pharma-bro Martin Shkreli first came to public attention when he hiked the price of a drug used by people with HIV from $13.50/pill to $750/pill. Read the rest

Giant heroin spoon installed outside of OxyContin manufacturer's headquarters

On Friday, Stamford, Connecticut gallerist Fernando Luis Alvarez and artist Domenic Esposito kindly installed Esposito's large sculpture of a burnt spoon outside of Purdue Pharma, developers of the OxyContin. Police calmly arrested Alvarez and charged him with "obstruction of free passage" and "interfering with police." The current group show at Alvarez's gallery is about the opioid epidemic. He had previously agreed to take the fall for the art action. According to Esposito, the spoon sculpture, titled "Purdue," was inspired by his brother who struggles with drug addiction. From the Hartford Courant:

In 2007, Purdue pleaded guilty in federal court to mislabeling OxyContin and misleading the public about the risk of addiction, and had to pay $600 million. Three company executives were convicted of criminal charges. The firm has been and remains the target of numerous lawsuits, with legal actions against it increasing since the opioid epidemic reached a critical stage...

Robert Josephson, a spokesperson for Purdue, released a statement Friday morning.

“We share the protesters’ concern about the opioid crisis, and respect their right to peacefully express themselves. Purdue is committed to working collaboratively with those affected by this public health crisis on meaningful solutions to help stem the tide of opioid-related overdose deaths.”

photos: Brian O'Neil

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Canada's best weapon in a US trade-war: invalidating US pharma patents

As the US-Canada trade war heats up, Canada finds itself in an asymmetrical battle, vastly overmatched against a country with an order of magnitude population advantage. Read the rest

It's often cheaper to pay cash for your prescriptions rather than the co-pay, but the pharmacy is legally prohibited from suggesting it

America's health care is totally screwed up, Part Ten Gazillion: in many cases, the medicines your doctor prescribes are cheaper than the co-pay your health insurance charges, which means that if you just buy the meds instead of charging them to insurance, you save money. Read the rest

Someone stole a semi full of cancer drugs from a Tennessee truck-stop

Last Thursday, a trucker driving a semi carrying $965,000 worth of Octagam -- an immunotherapy drug taken by cancer patients -- pulled into Pilot Truck Stop at 9211 Lewisburg Highway, Tennessee, tailed by a red Volvo semi. Read the rest

Goldman Sachs report: "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?"

In Goldman Sachs's April 10 report, "The Genome Revolution," its analysts ponder the rise of biotech companies who believe they will develop "one-shot" cures for chronic illnesses; in a moment of rare public frankness, the report's authors ask, "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" Read the rest

Careful study reveals that low testosterone is almost nonexistent and that taking T has almost no health benefits

A large-scale, long-term double-blind study found that low testosterone levels were far, far lower than previously suspected, and showed that taking testosterone supplements didn't confer most of its reputed benefits -- no memory improvement and no physical vitality. Read the rest

FDAAA Trials Tracker: leaderboard for pharma companies that break FDA clinical trial rules

Ben Goldacre (previously) led a team that created the FDAAA Trials Tracker, "A live informatics tool to monitor compliance with FDA requirements to report clinical trial results." Read the rest

The pharma billionaires whose family company created the opioid epidemic are disintegrating into a bickering mess

The Sackler family is best known for the buildings adorned with their names thanks to their acts of philanthropy, which is either motivated by a public spirit, or by the desperate need for some reputation washing as the public becomes increasingly aware that the family fortune was built on the perfection of shady techniques for marketing addictive drugs, which reached its zenith when Perdue, the family pharma business, created the Oxy epidemic, by falsifying addictiveness research and aggressively recruiting doctors to hook their patients on their lethal products. Read the rest

America's large hospital chains will start manufacturing generic drugs in order to beat shkrelic price-gouging

Hospital chain Intermountain Healthcare is leading a industry consortium representing 450 hospitals in total in an initiative to manufacture their own generic drugs, either directly or through subcontractors. Read the rest

Daranide, a 1958 drug, used to be free - now it costs your insurer at least $109,500/year

Daranide is a drug that was approved for treating glaucoma in 1958; the public domain drug's manufacture has shifted around for decades, sending its price soaring and plummeting from $0.50/dose to $1365, down to free, and now to $109,500, courtesy of Strongbridge Biopharma, new owners of Taro Pharmaceutical Industries, who started making the drug after Merck discontinued its production. Read the rest

The DoJ is going to make Shkreli sell off his unreleased Wu-Tang and Lil Wayne albums, his Picasso and his Enigma machine

Pharmadouchebro/Larval Trump Martin Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud in August and then sent to jail in September for putting a bounty on a lock of Hillary Clinton's hair. Read the rest

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