Louisville Magazine

MAR 2017

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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Page 31 of 112

gocards.com LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.17 29 $28,000 a vial in 2014. The drug's new owner jumps the price to $38,000 a vial by the end of 2016. Who needs the drug? Babies with severe epileptic spasms and rheumatic- and kidney-disease sufferers. Example No. 3: After selling rights to a 63-year-old antibiotic used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis and watching the biotech-company buyer boost the price from $500 for 30 pills to $10,800 in one day, an angry university-affiliated research firm that had been losing money producing the drug demands that the deal be rescinded. Examples No. 4 and 5: The owners of two self-administered drug-injection devices — one to reverse the effects of opioid overdose and the other to halt life- threatening allergic reactions — jack their prices up, the former from $690 a dose in 2014 to $4,500 a dose in 2016 and the latter from $100 a two-pack in 2009 to $608 a two-pack in 2016. I haven't named names. I don't want to because names of individuals and companies and medicines just gum up the clarity of the misdeeds. It's the actions themselves that are inarguably evil, that present capitalism run amuck, the free market in criminal clothes. Sure, rich people with primo insurance plans can absorb the above financial hits, but what about the rest of us? Understand, this is all part of an unfolding trend; unless someone in Washington undirties the word "regulate," it will get worse. How can this happen in the generics era, you ask? Because the generics era coincides with the mergers-and- acquisitions era in pharmaceuticals. Between 2002 and 2013, for example, the number of manufacturers of one generic heart drug on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines dropped from eight to three. The drug price rose by 637 percent. Many have been ground down to sole-source drugs. Plus, when speculative companies pay tens of millions of dollars for marketing rights to a drug, most want to recoup that cost ASAP. Heck, according to testimony before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, "activist investors" often demand that company executives spike prices. Just so we know, the evil is not only within the industry.

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