NEW YEAR, SAME OLD BIG PHARMA

Updated: Oct 31


New Year’s Day is the day that Big Pharma companies announce their price increases, and instead of a fresh new start to the year many decided to go back to their same old tricks.

One company in particular – Allergan Inc. – has had a particularly troublesome track record of high price increases disgraces. This is the company that transferred the patent rights on one of its key products to a Native American tribe to extend the life of the patent and thereby maintain pricing control over the medication for a longer period of time. Classic #BigPharma bad behavior. But the atrocities don’t end there.


Allergan’s CEO – Brett Saunders – previously vowed to never increases prices by more than single digits. Here is where it gets interesting, Allergan raised prices by single-digit percentages on basically all of its drugs on January 1 – 75 medications in all. He referred to this commitment as a ‘social contract with patients’ and he called out other Big Pharmas companies who have taken aggressive or predatory price increases as violating a social contract.


Here is where it gets more interesting, Saunders’ high moral ground is actually a shell game, while he wanted the public to only be paying attention to pricing he was actually working a patent game to ensure that the company was maintaining their monopolies on drugs. (Hence, transferring a patent to a Native American tribe, but it doesn’t end there…). The real way to protect #BigPharma profits is by protecting patents on drugs. Check out this Bloomberg article for specific examples.


What is truly amazing is that companies like Allergan continue with these shenanigans despite the fact that everyone is now paying attention – Congress, the media, the public, advocacy groups like us, and the list goes on. They can no longer hide behind smoke-and-mirrors messaging and game playing without being drawn out into the open and exposed and, oftentimes, face serious legal consequences.


Although we started out the New Year with more bad news from #BigPharma, we must remain hopeful that there has been progress and we will prevail in the end but we need your support and involvement. Stay engaged with us and fight for safe and affordable medications for all Americans!

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