Bill Owens: Obamacare Versus Drug Costs

Oct 13, 2015

The national media has reported on Turing Pharmaceuticals’ 5,000 percent price increase for Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis. There are numerous other pharmaceutical companies who have taken control of a drug and dramatically increased the price. After reading those stories and reflecting on comments made to me by a close friend and local pharmacist, I asked him to show me examples of price increases that he has seen in the last several years. He provided five examples reflecting the following dramatic price increases: Colchicine went from $18 per 1,000 to $578; Digoxin went from $0.88 per 100 to $78; Carac cream went from $402 for 30 grams to $2,425; Levothyroxine ( a generic) went from $12 to $48 in six months; and Tasmar (100 mg), selling for $165.50 per hundred in 1998, increased to $4,525 in 2014, and then to $9,895 in 2015.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

New York legislators want to postpone until next year the deadline for doctors to issue only electronic drug prescriptions, saying many still lack needed federal approval. The bill has passed the state Senate and the Assembly Health Committee.

Assemblyman John McDonald, sponsor and practicing pharmacist, says he expects the full Assembly to pass it in two weeks.

The electronic prescriptions — connected to a central database that doctors and pharmacists can check — are intended to prevent fraud and doctor shopping for painkillers.

Sean Philpott: Punishing The Promoters

Nov 7, 2013

Earlier this week, the US Justice Department announced that pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay more than $2 billion in fines and penalties for illegally marketing the drug Risperdal to doctors and patients.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission held another hearing Monday evening focusing on reforming the state’s campaign finance system.  A reform group is out with a report that they say raises questions about five million dollars spent on lobbying and donations by the pharmaceutical industry.

Stephen Gottlieb: Medical Research

Jun 25, 2013

The Supreme Court’s decision that no company can patent genes but can patent its tests for genetic information is the tip of a large iceberg. We have gotten used to believing that the patent process is the only way that new drugs and treatments are developed, and that private industry is the only source of that work. Nothing could be further from the truth but the attack on government activity may make it true.