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Monday, December 26, 2016

Senator McCaskill, On the Trail of Our Crushing Health Care System

Proof positive, folks, of what the insanity of having our health care system tied to profit and profits does. Capitalism, at it's both worst and finest, and brought to light, thank goodness, by our own Senator Claire McCaskill. From yesterday's New York Times:

Senator Claire McCaskill, left, and Senator Susan Collins presented a 130-page report Wednesday on price gouging by prescription drug makers. CreditDrew Angerer for The New York Times

To Stop Price Spikes on Prescription Drugs, 

a Widening Radar

In the actual paper itself, it had a different headline and one that I like far better. It was

A bit of the article:

Congressional reports can be a snooze. But that is not how I’d characterize Wednesday’s in-depth account of price gouging among prescription drug makers. The 130-page narrative prepared by the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging was juicy, detailing how four pharmaceutical companies have taken advantage of our health care system to enrich themselves and their executives, harming patients and taxpayers.

Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine who is chairwoman of the committee, and Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri who is its ranking member, published the report. But in a statement, they said their work was not finished and called for “continued efforts to stop bad actors who are acquiring drugs that have been off-patent for decades and driving up their prices solely because they can.”

The report focused on Retrophin, Rodelis Therapeutics, Turing Pharmaceuticals and an old favorite, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. But these four companies are not alone in pursuing the pernicious price-hike business model, the committee noted. Other companies take the same approach, hurting taxpayers, patients and the health care system.

That’s for sure.

It is unclear where the Senate may set its sights next. But fresh Medicare data points to a candidate right in Ms. McCaskill’s backyard: St. Louis-based Mallinckrodt PLC. It makes H.P. Acthar Gel, a 1950s vintage, off-patent drug whose cost has rocketed from $40 a vial in 2001 to $38,000 today.

That Epi-pen episode, not that long ago was just one more example of this kind of, again, Capitalist gouging of the American public. Sick Americans, actually.

Senators McCaskill and Susan Collins (R-Maine) get credit for bringing this to light and for doing this examination. Seems the women have the empathy for the American public who are trying to afford our grossly obscene and immoral health care system. Men in Congress don't seem to be as interested in doing this so-important work.

Senator McCaskill gets additional kudos for this exploration since one of the companies they're looking into is based right here in Missouri, Mallinckrodt PLC.  That takes some guts since she no doubt risks some political capital--potential votes--in doing this though the article did mention one Senator Tim Scott (R-So. Carolina) did raise questions about this drug's pricing "over a year ago."

It's a fascinating, even, possibly important, very relevant, if depressing article. Virtually all adult Americans, paying for health care, should be aware of it. It shows just what the pharmaceutical companies are doing to us all and getting away with.

All in the name of health care.

And, again, that mighty, mighty Capitalism so many love so dearly.


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