The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

It’s Not Just EpiPen Which Is Seeing Huge Price Increases, So Is Insulin

All those involved should go to jail, maximum security, where the nasty people are, and pharma production should simply be taken over by the government, while all patents are moved to a mandatory licensing system with durations slashed to the bone (that’s right, neither insulin and EpiPen are in patent protection, which shows just how broken the US system is).

Here’s your insulin prices on crapitalism (not capitalism. Actual capitalism doesn’t allow this.)

“This borders on the unbelievable,” Davidson said, citing an extremely concentrated insulin which “in 2001 had the wholesale price of $45. By last year, the cost had skyrocketed to $1,447” for the same monthly supply.


From 2011 to 2013, the wholesale price of insulin went up by as much as 62 percent. From 2013 to 2015, the price jumped again, from a low of 33 percent to as much as 107 percent

There is simply no question that this will kill people. Those involved should be charged with negligent homicide.

But, hey! Rich people are fine, so it isn’t actually a crisis.

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  1. Tom

    Its bad enough children are seizing because anti-seizure meds are priced outside what their parents can afford and legally I as an EMT have to report those parents for non-compliance when its not their fault the meds are priced out of their range and insurance won’t cover it.

    Medicine and Healthcare should be a public good straight up with no costs to consumers.

    Also eliminate patents, no patents should be issued. This will return competitiveness to the markets and break up the oligarchies.

  2. Hugh

    A core, perhaps the, core principle of neoliberalism is the maximization of profits. My view is that corporations are societally sanctioned entities, and that their only reason to exist, and be sanctioned, is if they perform some societally useful function.

    The neoliberal principle currently dominates, indeed is absolute. Societal goods, people’s lives, are all treated as externalities, things that Mylan’s Heather Bresch and her class can almost always safely ignore. What we need to understand is that for Bresch, her murderous price gouging is not evidence of either personal moral or corporate failure. It is a simple PR problem, a question of spin and waiting out the news cycle, and then back to business as usual.

    Price gouging is not the only evil neoliberalism visits upon us. Takata could have produced safe airbags for only a few dollars more per unit, but its management decided to gamble that the resulting lives lost using cheaper, more dangerous materials would never be noticed or come back to haunt them. There is also offshoring. Here have cheaper, more poorly made goods, but they cost less, so even though you lost your job because of them, it’s all OK. And there is ignoring externalities, as in the promotion of fossil fuels that are killing the planet or the wealth inequality created by these profoundly anti-social activities.

  3. Adams

    Thanks for excellent article. Like eternal war, torture, obscene exec pay, etc., med price gouging is new normal. Media are complicit, secret deals rampant, info about coverage and costs of production hidden. My daughter’s doc put her on a different insulin. Monthly cost went from $250 to $700 out of pocket. This after ACA eliminated our old plan and new plan offered by employer raised dedutcibles and copays dramatically. Remember “if you like your current plan you can keep it..?” Thanks Barry. Crooked, lying bastards all in bed together.

  4. Ché Pasa

    Just notationally, Ms. Ché’s insulin injector has an annual $380 initial co-pay on a $1,000+ charge to insurance. After the initial co-pay, it’s $45 per refill on the same charge to insurance. It is a 90 day supply, so there is that, but even so, it’s could be a crippling expense for a drug she must take or be very sick indeed. There are a number of options to cut the cost to patients somewhat, but many patients cannot jump through the required hoops to qualify. They either go without which is deadly, or they try to extend their supplies as long as possible, which is potentially deadly.

    This kind of price gouging should be considered a criminal conspiracy or worse, but it’s not. It’s business as usual, outrage or no, and there is nothing (supposedly) we or our representatives can do about it. (suckers!)

    Another example: I use a Spiriva inhaler for breathing issues. 18 mcg per daily dose. That’s micrograms. A tiny-tiny amount. It’s billed at $355 per 30 day supply, of which insurance is paying $310 currently, and I have a $45 co-pay. Per month.

    It’s insane.

    There are so many similar examples these days, it’s impossible to keep up. What should happen is not done, in part because the entire system is set up to maximize the profits of drug companies/dealers, not to protect the health and well-being of patients and the public. In other words, it’s a policy decision made on behalf of the drug companies. It was obvious when the ACA drug policies were made. I don’t think many among us, the Rabble, anticipated how bad it was going to get, but we’re starting to see.

    Changing the policies that help drive the price gouging is relatively simple; even instituting an entirely different system would not necessarily be all that disruptive (gougers and such excepted).

    But governing contrary to the public interest is still the style in Washington and statehouses across the land. So that kind of positive change is out of reach for some time to come.

  5. V. Arnold

    My heart goes out to all of you.
    A few months before I left the U.S (in May of 2003), I cut my thumb (on top, not artery), and with no insurance (unemployed) went to the emergency ward in a hospital in Newport, Oregon. Four or five stitches later was handed a bill for $800 USD. I was dumb founded! At $60 per week unemployment insurance, there was no way I could pay that bill.
    I’ve been blessed with good health in my senior years (71 yo) and haven’t had to see a doctor in years. However, Mrs. V has Hep B; 15% of the Thai population has Hep B; so about 8 years ago she went on Baraclude and it knocked her viral load from 64,000,000 to non detectable; saved her life. She’s now 59 and will retire from teaching next year.
    Now, as the Thai government covers their civil servants with a first rate health care plan she gets a 6 month supply for free and pays ฿470 ($14 USD) for the doctor’s visit. This medicine is $300 USD per month in Thailand (and far more in the U.S.), well beyond the reach of the majority of Thai’s who do not make that much per month. But there is the ฿35 (about $1 USD) per visit health care plan for all citizens, at all government hospitals.
    My health insurance is about $14 per month; I qualified for the Thai Social Security Insurance because I was a government high school teacher before I reached 60 yo.
    Okay, this isn’t meant as a brag; just to inform there are options “out there”.
    I know full well if I were still in the U.S. I’d be long dead and my being here was both very lucky and a conscious decision about my future.
    I do hope this post is understood in the spirit it was intended; normally I’m far less candid about my personal life but, the information I offer is real numbers about real life.

  6. @Che Pasa: I can relate. I also take Spiriva and just ordered a new 90-day supply. Total billing from pharma $938, of which I pay $150. How many recreational drugs go for $925.90 per ounce?

  7. I don’t know what the big deal is. Social Rank Fascism has always been a trademark of all societies, past and present.

  8. EmilianoZ

    Capitalism with its fabled competition and all can only work and should only be allowed to work on non-essential stuff. For instance, stuff like the iPod. Nobody’d gonna die if she/he cant have one.

    For essential stuff, especially where the barriers to entry are high, like in healthcare or housing, we’ll always end up being held up to ransom by the owners of the economy, as sure as death and taxes. Ideally, where essential stuff is concerned, a people’s gov’ment should always control a least 50% of the supply.

  9. V. Arnold

    This link lists 5 countries with considerably cheaper medical costs;

  10. VietnamVet

    This is racketeering. It took me years to acknowledge it but the simple fact is that we are under-class marks worthy of the contempt that the elite hold us. When the Obama Administration failed to throw the Wall Street fraudsters in jail; they unleashed every crook to rip us off. It will only get worse until the rule of law is restored for everyone or the whole edifice blows up.

  11. Pricing by pharma consists of “how much can I get for it before people quit buying it?” Interestingly, if you price with that approach during a natural disaster, such as after a hurricane, you are charged with profiteering and put in jail. The basis for that law is that you are capitalizing on people’s desperation. Pharma, in selling medication which people need to sustain life, is apparently not capitalizing on people’s desperation.

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