Many of Big PHARMA’s patents on “blockbuster” drugs have expired in recent years.
And more are set to expire soon. But have you noticed the industry’s stocks are soaring to new highs anyway? Have you wondered why?
It used to be that Big PHARMA made its money by developing therapeutic breakthroughs. Now they stay on top by finding cures for non-existent conditions.
Plus, most recently, Big PHARMA has gotten quite a bit of help from their friends in Washington. With the passing of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
In fact, Big PHARMA aggressively supported the passing of the bill in Washington. They knew the law would be a boon for business. Because they made sure of it
Well, perhaps we should be thankful that someone in Washington actually read the bill before it passed. The Speaker of the House apparently never did.
In fact, before the bill passed, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi infamously said, “we will have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”
Oh, pardon me, Nancy. I thought we were supposed to know what is actually in a bill before it becomes a law.
But at least one person in Washington did know what was in the bill before it passed. Because she wrote it.
And her name is Elizabeth Fowler. Washington insiders call Fowler the “architect of Obamacare.”
According to a recent report in the Guardian newspaper in the U.K., Fowler is a former–and current–player for Big PHARMA. Yes, sometimes we have to look overseas to get real reporting on Washington.
In fact, when she wrote the Obamacare legislation, she held a post as Chief Health Policy Counsel for Max Baucus. Baucus served as Democratic Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. This committee took the lead in drafting the healthcare legislation.
But before that, Fowler served as the Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs at WellPoint. In other words, she was a lobbyist. For the nation’s largest health insurance provider. And she made sure WellPoint–and the entire pharmaceutical industry–would hugely benefit from the implementation of the bill she drafted.
And the industry just rewarded Fowler handsomely for her loyalty. After passing of the bill, Fowler went back to Big PHARMA to claim her hefty paycheck. She now works for Johnson & Johnson’s government affairs and policy group as head of global health policy.
According to the Guardian report, “the pharmaceutical giant that just hired Fowler actively supported the passage of Obamacare through its membership in the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America lobby. Indeed, Pharma was one of the most aggressive supporters–and most lavish beneficiaries–of the health care bill drafted by Fowler.”
Without a doubt, there is a revolving door in Washington. It swings between Congress, the White House, and Big PHARMA. In fact, after working for Baucus and before going to Johnson & Johnson, Fowler even worked briefly for the White House. She served as the Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy at the National Economic Council. In this post, she worked to implement the law she had just written.
Vigilant government groups condemn this process, riddled with conflicts of interest. Danielle Brian of the Project for Government Oversight called Fowler’s appointment “pretty gross,” in 2010.
The reporter for the Guardian said Fowler’s new job at Johnson & Johnson “embodies the sleazy, anti-democratic, corporatist revolving door that greases Washington.”
But Big PHARMA used lots of scams to rig the game.
Take Medicare Part D for example. It is a huge wealth transfer from senior citizens to Big PHARMA.
It requires people on social security to buy insurance to cover drugs. Medicare deducts a portion of their social security payments–through government co-dependent organizations like AARP–to cover the drugs. Then, the government matches their contribution.
And best of all–for Big PHARMA, that is–Congress passed legislation that prevents the government from negotiating lower prices for these drugs. All other large buyers typically negotiate lower prices. But the U.S. government pays full price. Even though it’s now the biggest buyer of drugs in the world! Other countries get the same drugs at a fraction of the cost.
So don’t feel bad paying less for your generic blood pressure medication. Big PHARMA had Liz Fowler and the government working in the wings. Its profits are secure.
And you will be more secure using high quality generics that have passed the test of time and been in use long enough to ferret out the real side effects.