by Vicki Batts, Natural News:
Big Pharma has been subject to immense scrutiny for quite some time now. Government inquiries of the industry date back to 1959, with Congress having launched over 50 individual hearings to investigate their practices. These hearings have reached the same conclusion: that Big Pharma is making huge profits at the expense of the American people. And yet, for some reason, the government has yet to do anything to put a stop to this nonsense.
In almost 60 years, since the investigations of Big Pharma began, Congress has never passed any kind of legislation to prevent the pharmaceutical industry from charging exorbitant prices — even for products that were developed with taxpayer dollars. (RELATED: Find out more about Big Pharma at Medicine.news)
Corporate greed keeps life-saving drugs from veterans
Just three years ago, in 2014, the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging held a hearing to investigate the skyrocketing price of generic drugs. Drug prices have continued to increase since then, of course.
The following year, Gilead came under fire for their outlandish drug prices — most notably, the sky-high costs of their drugs for hepatitis C. One drug, Solvaldi, was actually developed by a research scientist from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. After being acquired by Gilead, the product was priced so high that the VA — which paid to develop the drug — could not afford to give the pills to their own patients.
Gilead felt that it was fair for them to charge $1,000 per pill for a drug that they themselves had not even created. The retail price for a 12-week Solvaldi treatment is a sickening $84,000; even with a 50 percent discount, the VA was still unable to afford treatment for many sick veterans that contacted Hep C while overseas during the Vietnam War.
Only the lowest of the low could sleep at night, knowing that their price-gouging was preventing veterans from getting much-needed medical care.
Don’t worry, it gets worse.
Dr. Raymond Schinazi, the drug’s creator — owner of Pharmasett and at the time of the drug’s creation, Senior Research Scientist of the VA in Atlanta — admitted in a 2013 trade publication that an entire 12-week treatment of Solvaldi only cost $1,400 to make. A report from Americans For Tax Fairness states that Schinazi and his private company received millions in federal grant money to conduct research and develop treatment for Hep C.
Schinazi sold his company to Gilead in 2012. Shortly after acquiring it, Gilead saw fit to raise the price of the drug — to nearly 60 times what it costs to produce.
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