Tuesday, August 16, 2022

WisGOPs thinks competing on drug prices is bad because...of BS and corruption

I was trying to figure out how WisGOPs were going to try to say how Americans paying lower drug prices would be a bad thing. And so Paul Ryan's Coffee Boy obliged over the weekend....after pathetically dodging a question about the disgraced former president.

And sure enough, our Dumb Senator followed with the same theory.

During an interview on Monday, Fox radio host Brian Kilmeade told Johnson that allowing Medicare to bid on drug prices would be "bad" even if it lowers costs.

"The industry is going to pay a huge price and we're going to pay the price on innovation," Kilmeade declared.

"Correct," Johnson agreed. "You're absolutely right. When you start punishing the pharmaceutical industry, you're going to have less innovation; you are going to have fewer life-saving drugs. That's not a good thing."
"Less innovation" is the first crock of crap - a whole lot of the initial R&D in treating the maladies come from government funded university research, such as the Drug Development Core at UW's Carbone Cancer Research Center. Only after those types of drugs and treatments are figured out do drug companies typically jump in with their development to perfect the drug, and how to market it.

And drug companies make plenty of money off of people's suffering with their "innovations". EVERY ONE of the top 20 drug companies in America had higher revenues in 2021 compared to 2020, and 5 of the 20 had revenue growth of more than 40%.

In addition, a whole lot of those dollars aren't plowed back into R&D, but instead are used to get more market share via mergers and jack up stock prices. Take a look at this story from last December.
Some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies, sitting on large and growing sums of cash, are funneling those funds into major share buyback programs and acquisitions of smaller biotech companies.

On Thursday, Swiss drugmaking giant Novartis announced plans to buy back up to $15 billion worth of its shares by end of 2023, a program it will fund with proceeds from the recent sale of its long-held stake in crosstown rival Roche for nearly $21 billion. Three days earlier, Bristol Myers Squibb announced a similarly sized share buyback plan for the next few years.

And after a relatively quiet year for dealmaking in the industry, there are signs the largest drugmakers are moving more aggressively toward acquisitions, particularly as a pullback in biotech company valuations makes potential deals less expensive. Pfizer recently agreed to buy Arena Pharmaceuticals for $6.7 billion, while Merck & Co. in late September announced an $11.5 billion deal for Acceleron Pharma.

By the end of next year, more than a dozen of the largest pharmaceutical companies will have more than $20 billion in cash, and six will hold between $30 billion and $70 billion, according to estimates from SVB Leerink, an investment bank.
I think those companies can afford to take a bit of a haircut while taking off pressure on Americans' checkbooks, don't you? And it saves Medicare money over the long run, so win-win, right?

So why would RoJo have such a problem with something that seems to be a good thing on many fronts?

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, while serving as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in 2018, declined to subpoena Teva Pharmaceuticals as part of a Democrat-led investigation of the drugmaker’s role in the opioid epidemic. In the months to follow, Teva would donate to both Johnson’s campaign and an affiliated PAC.

The subpoena would have been on behalf of former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat and ranking member of the committee who was leading a probe into several drug manufacturers and distributors exploring the companies’ role in the epidemic.....

McCaskill’s investigation seemed to stall after Johnson declined to subpoena Teva — though litigation against the company from numerous states, including Wisconsin, continued.

In the year and a half after the public disagreement between Johnson and McCaskill, Teva’s political action committee made two donations, totaling $3,500, to Johnson’s campaign and an affiliated PAC.

On Dec. 5, 2018, Teva donated $2,500 to Johnson’s leadership PAC, Strategy PAC.
Ahhh yes, the other place big drug company profits go from "innovation" - right into the pockets of crooked politicians like Ron Johnson. Who then (ab)use their power to cover up their drug company donors from accountability.

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