Congress must stop Big Pharma predators from ripping off American consumers by acting like hedge funds, buying up decades-old, off-patent drugs and jacking up prices on long-standing “gold standard” prescription medications, a Senate committee has recommended after a bipartisan industry investigation.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging, chaired by Maine Republican Susan M. Collins and with ranking member Claire McCaskill, the Democrat from Missouri, (both seen in photo above) ended 2016 by issuing its scathing critique of companies like Valeant, Turing Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin, and Rodelis Therapeutics. Those companies and their ilk buy out other firms to control drugs long on the market to treat conditions like: parasites that afflict HIV-AIDS patients, kidney stones in those with a rare disease, drug-resistant tuberculosis, and heart and other medications for those with an uncommon inherited ailment. As soon as they seize control from others, who often had borne the big costs to research and develop drugs for which patents had expired, Valeant, Turing, Retophin, and Rodelis sent the medications’ cost through the roof.
After examining their practices for a year and hearing from their sometimes smirking and resistant executives (notably the smug “pharma bro,” aka Turing’s Martin Shkreli), senators described their skyrocketing product pricing with words like: egregious, predatory, and immoral. As USA Today bluntly described the senators’ findings with its story headline: “Senate report shows Martin Shkreli is just as bad as you think he is.”