Big Pharma

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      PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl made the same argument in November, claiming that Democrats’ drug pricing measure would “upend the same innovative ecosystem that brought us lifesaving vaccines and therapies to combat COVID-19.” This is totally false: The federal government invests billions each year to subsidize pharmaceutical companies’ research and development costs, and the government has poured tens of billions of dollars into efforts to develop COVID vaccines and treatments.

      Indeed, a team of government scientists helped develop Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID vaccine — a fact the company fittingly decided to leave out of the patent application for its vaccine technology. Then there’s the newly-approved COVID antiviral treatment from Merck, which “was made possible by government-funded innovation,” according to Stat News. That didn’t stop the company from charging the U.S. government $712 per course of the treatment, or 40 times the $17.74 that it costs to produce.

      While the public is served up TV ads warning about threats to drugmakers’ innovation, the reality of the situation is that the U.S. government funds pharmaceutical companies’ R&D, and the industry rewards that investment by charging Americans the highest prices for medicines in the world.

      Pharmaceutical companies are not losing money on their products in countries that negotiate lower prices. They only charge Americans more because they can — because U.S. politicians barred the government from negotiating prices, while also eliminating the requirement that government-funded drugs be sold at a “reasonable price.” Companies can also game the U.S. patent system to preserve drug monopolies even as generic or biosimilar versions are being offered in other countries.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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