U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry Reveals Its Latest Rent-Seeking Swindle

For as long as I’ve been writing on this website, I’ve argued that the U. S. economy has become little more than a gigantic rent-seeking swindle where much of the wealth being ‘created’ isn’t being created at all. Rather, money is being shuffled around and extracted from the population at large via increasingly elaborate and preposterous schemes. Indeed, it appears much of the nation’s creative energy is being directed at discovering new corporate scams, versus the invention of new goods and services that benefit everyone.
For the latest scheme we turn, unsurprisingly, to the pharmaceutical industry and Allergan in particular. The ploy was revealed by The New York Times last week, and its pretty grotesque.
What follows are excerpts from the article, How to Protect a Drug Patent? Give it to a Native American Tribe:
The drugmaker Allergan announced Friday that it had transferred its patents on a best-selling eye drug to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in upstate New York – an unusual gambit to protect the drug from a patent dispute.

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Sep 14, 2017.

Deere, Monsanto Slide After DOJ Files Suit To Block Precision Planting Deal; Ag Sector Lower

Several months after dozens of merger arb funds had their worst day in years when the US government effectively killed the Pfizer-Allergan deal, moments ago both Deere and Monstanto stocks dropped, after the DOJ filed a lawsuit seeking to block Deere’s deal for Monsanto’s Precision Planting.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 31, 2016.

Congress Demand An Explanation For Epipen Price Increases; Mylan Slides

In a rerun of last summer’s political interference in pharmaceutical pricing spearheaded by both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, which initially focused on Martin Shrekli’s price hike of the Turing Pharmaceuticals Daraprim drug, then shifted to Allergan (and everyone knows what happened after), over the past few days much of the media’s attention has focused on the ongoing cost increases of Mylan’s Epipen.
As NBC wrote last Friday, a growing chorus is calling on the Mylan pharmaceutical company to justify its price hikes on EpiPens, a potentially life-saving medication for children and others facing fatal allergies that has little real competition.
In 2007, a two-pack of the epinephrine-filled devices went for $56.64 wholesale, according to data gathered by Connecture, a health insurance technology and data analytics company. Now it’s jumped to $365.16, an increase of 544.77 percent. Since the end of 2013, the price has gone up by 15 percent every other quarter.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 22, 2016.

The Placebo Effect

BOTOX is the only FDA-approved, preventive treatment that is injected by a doctor every 12 weeks for adults with Chronic Migraine (15 or more headache days a month, each lasting 4 hours or more). BOTOX prevents up to 9 headache days a month (vs up to 7 for placebo). BOTOX therapy is not approved for adults with migraine who have 14 or fewer headache days a month.
– Allergan website, April 18, 2016
I’ve had four or five true migraines in my life, mostly from getting whacked on the head with something like a baseball or a sharp elbow in basketball, and I honestly can’t imagine how horrible it must be to suffer from chronic migraines, defined by the FDA as 15 or more migraines per month with headaches lasting at least four hours. So I was happy to see a TV ad saying that the FDA had approved Botox as an effective treatment for chronic migraines, preventing up to 9 headache-days per month. That’s huge!
But in the fast-talking coda for the ad, I heard something that made me do a double-take. Yes, Botox can knock out up to 9 headache days per month. But a placebo injection is almost as good, preventing up to 7 headache-days per month.
Now 9 is better than 7 … I get that … and that’s why the FDA approved the drug as efficacious. Still. Really? Most of the reports I’ve read say that the cost of a Botox migraine treatment is about $600. That’s just the cost of the drug itself. So what the FDA is telling us is that a saline solution injection (costing what? $2) is almost 80% as effective as the $600 drug, so long as it was presented to the patient as a ‘true’ potential therapy. If I’m an Allergan shareholder I’m thanking god every day for the placebo effect.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 04/21/2016.

Hillary Slams “Unfair” Tax Inversions After Sanders Calls Pfizer/Allergan Deal “Disaster For Americans”

This merger would be a disaster for Americans who already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs — Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 23, 2015

Just an hour after Bernie Sanders exclaimed that the Pfizer/Allergan merger would be a disaster for Americans who already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, Hillary Clinton has come out swinging in her most populist manner lambasting Republicans for “enabling tax inversions” andvowing to “crackdown” on companies moving abroad to “avoid paying their fair share.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/23/2015.