Many of Big Pharma’s overpriced medications developed with taxpayer-funded research

Image: Many of Big Pharma’s overpriced medications developed with taxpayer-funded research

Source: NaturalNews.com
Vicki Batts
January 23, 2017

Big Pharma has been subject to immense scrutiny for quite some time now. Government inquiries of the industry date back to 1959, with Congress having launched over 50 individual hearings to investigate their practices. These hearings have reached the same conclusion: that Big Pharma is making huge profits at the expense of the American people. And yet, for some reason, the government has yet to do anything to put a stop to this nonsense.

In almost 60 years, since the investigations of Big Pharma began, Congress has never passed any kind of legislation to prevent the pharmaceutical industry from charging exorbitant prices — even for products that were developed with taxpayer dollars. (RELATED: Find out more about Big Pharma at Medicine.news)

Corporate greed keeps life-saving drugs from veterans

Just three years ago, in 2014, the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging held a hearing to investigate the skyrocketing price of generic drugs. Drug prices have continued to increase since then, of course.

The following year, Gilead came under fire for their outlandish drug prices — most notably, the sky-high costs of their drugs for hepatitis C. One drug, Solvaldi, was actually developed by a research scientist from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. After being acquired by Gilead, the product was priced so high that the VA — which paid to develop the drug — could not afford to give the pills to their own patients.

Gilead felt that it was fair for them to charge $1,000 per pill for a drug that they themselves had not even created. The retail price for a 12-week Solvaldi treatment is a sickening $84,000; even with a 50 percent discount, the VA was still unable to afford treatment for many sick veterans that contacted Hep C while overseas during the Vietnam War.

Only the lowest of the low could sleep at night, knowing that their price-gouging was preventing veterans from getting much-needed medical care.

Don’t worry, it gets worse.

Dr. Raymond Schinazi, the drug’s creator — owner of Pharmasett and at the time of the drug’s creation, Senior Research Scientist of the VA in Atlanta — admitted in a 2013 trade publication that an entire 12-week treatment of Solvaldi only cost $1,400 to make. A report from Americans For Tax Fairness states that Schinazi and his private company received millions in federal grant money to conduct research and develop treatment for Hep C.

Schinazi sold his company to Gilead in 2012. Shortly after acquiring it, Gilead saw fit to raise the price of the drug — to nearly 60 times what it costs to produce.

Following their investigation of Gilead, government officials concluded that the only explanation for the explicit price-gouging was corporate greed: they charged as much as possible, purely because they could.

(Related: Read more about rigged pricing, rigged polls and rigged systems at Rigged.news)

Other drugs have been created with taxpayer money

ABC News reported that the federal government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent some $484 million dollars on developing a cancer drug called Taxol. They entered an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in 1993.  A 2003 report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) revealed that the federal government recovered a mere $35 million in royalty payments — even though BMS had racked up profits to the tune of $9 billion — in just 9 years. That’s a billion dollars a year in profits! And yet it was our tax dollars that paid for all that research.

The GAO report showed that the NIH spent almost half a billion dollars to research and create a new drug, and they then signed a contract that inevitably allowed a pharmaceutical company to patent it and prevent generics from entering the marketplace for years. It is beyond comprehension and totally reprehensible.

Corruption and greed in the pharmaceutical industry are hardly a thing of the past. More recently, pharmaceutical giant Mylan was called out for their price-gouging of the life-saving EpiPen. After acquiring the EpiPen patent — which was initially developed for the Department of Defense — Mylan increased the price of the product by 461 percent over the course of nine years.

There are countless other instances of wrongdoing within the pharmaceutical industry, particularly as it pertains to government regulation and policy.  Clearly, this is an issue that needs to be resolved — and should have been remedied years ago during or after one of the 50 investigations the government has conducted.

Read More at: NaturalNews.com

Sources:

Workers.org

RT.com

ABCNews.go.com

AmericansForTaxFairness.org

GenomeBiology.BiomedCentral.com

USUncut.com

 

The Collapse of Rome: Washington’s $6.5 trillion Black Hole

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Source: Journaol-Neo.org
F. William Engdhal
August 22, 2016

Students of history will find eerie but quite predictable parallels between the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 4th Century AD and the collapse of America’s global hegemony today. Not only has the choice of political so-called leaders become the near-exclusive province of big money patriarchs and their corporate interests. The choice of politicians voters are offered is worse than abysmal. As President Barack Obama tries every sneaky trick in the book to ram through a hugely unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade corporate scam, a report has emerged that there is a staggering $6.5 trillion of US taxpayer dollars that cannot be properly accounted for by standard good accounting methods. That’s trillion, not million, not billion, but trillion. That is almost 40% of the annual USA Gross Domestic Product. Missing in action…

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the agency that provides finance and accounting services for the Pentagon’s civilian and military members, has just revealed that it cannot provide adequate documentation for $6.5 trillion worth of “adjustments” to Army general fund transactions and data. According to a report released July 26 by the by the Inspector General of the US Department of Defense, US military budget practices are out of control. The report notes,

“The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management & Comptroller) (OASA[FM&C]) and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Indianapolis (DFAS Indianapolis) did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in third quarter journal voucher (JV) adjustments and $6.5 trillion in year-end JV adjustments made to AGF data during FY 2015 financial statement compilation. The unsupported JV adjustments occurred because OASA (FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis did not prioritize correcting the system deficiencies that caused errors resulting in JV adjustments, and did not provide sufficient guidance for supporting system-generated adjustments.” (emphasis added)

“Journal vouchers” provide serial numbers, transaction dates and the amount of the expenditure, not so complicated, or?

This is no minor book-keeping bureaucratic snafu. It exposes the rampant corruption at the heart of the world’s largest military Leviathan, the Pentagon. The Pentagon report goes on to declare, “In addition, DFAS Indianapolis did not document or support why the Defense Departmental Reporting System-Budgetary (DDRS-B), a budgetary reporting system, removed at least 16,513 of 1.3 million records during third quarter FY2015…the data used to prepare the FY2015 AGF third quarter and year-end financial statements were unreliable and lacked an adequate audit trail.” (emphasis added)

Translated into plain English, the US Army–and that’s only one branch of the US Armed Forces–destroyed accounting documents, did not provide an audit trail for accountability of funds allocated by Congress, and made apparently arbitrary, unverifiable accounting year-end adjustments that made it look like the books balanced, adjustments of $6.5 trillion worth. In other words they not only cooked the books, they Dixie-fried them, as in…trillion…trillion…trillion…

Interesting to know there are two mammoth institutions with government ties or government agencies which never have submitted to an independent audit. One is the privately-owned but Government linked and supposedly Congressionally monitored (hardly) Federal Reserve. The second institution never to have been audited is the Pentagon. Never.

The day before September 11, 2001 then US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld announced, “According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” The story vanished the next day in the panic of 911 events.

Finally, under the pressures of exploding Federal Budget deficits, Congress demanded that the Army achieve “audit readiness,” for the first time ever, by Sept. 30, 2017. No one in Washington believes that will happen.

The corruption, falsification, probable fraud and embezzlement is so huge and so endemic that it will destroy any effort at transparency, buried under the cover of bureaucratic ineptitude. It’s symptomatic of the rot of Washington and a nation that only a few decades ago held a tradition of honesty and integrity in public service. If we want to give a name to a faceless bureaucracy responsible for accurate reporting of that unaccountable $6.5 trillion, his current name is Colonel (retired) Robert M. Speer, Assistant Secretary of the Army Financial Management and Comptroller, formerly with PwC, one of the mega accounting firms. Presumably he understands how to do basic accounting.

Whom the gods would destroy…

The title of my latest book is The Lost Hegemon: Whom the gods would destroy. It refers to the fact that the boring old patriarchs, let’s call them BOPs, such as D. Rockefeller or G. Soros or W. Buffett–oligarchs whose so-called power is based on the popular delusion that they have real power, a funny kind of hypnosis or mass delusion we nurture–that their ability to push their globalist one world fascist agenda is failing.

It’s failing everywhere, whether in their use of Islam as with Fethullah Gülen in Turkey’s recently failed US coup attempt, or in their ISIS/Al Qaeda terror war against Syria to gain control of the oil and gas of the region. Or they have failed in their effort to isolate Russia or encircle China in the South China Sea. It recalls the final days of the Roman Empire which collapsed during the Fourth Century AD not from foreign invasion, but from internal moral rot and corruption.

The roots of the decline and ultimate collapse of the Roman Empire, in its day also the world’s sole superpower, lay in the political decision by a ruling aristocracy, more accurately, an oligarchy of wealth, boring old patriarchs of that day, to extend the bounds of empire through wars of conquest and plunder of foreign lands. They did so to feed their private wealth and personal power, not to the greater good of the state.

The economic model of the Empire of Rome was based on the plunder of conquered territories. As the empire expanded, it installed remote military garrisons to maintain control and increasingly relied on foreign mercenaries to man those garrisons.

In the process of military expansionism the peasantry, the heart of the empire, became impoverished. Small farmers were bankrupted and forced to flee to Rome to attempt a living as proletarians, wage laborers. They had no voting rights or other citizen rights. In the eyes of the rich, they were simply the ‘mob’ that could be bought, manipulated, and directed to attack an opponent; they were the ‘demos,’ the masses, the public. Roman ‘democracy’ was all about mass manipulation in the service of empire.

The once independent farmers were forced to leave their farms, often for years, to fight foreign wars of conquest. The south of Italy was devastated as one result. Those with money were able to buy land as the only stable investment, becoming huge latifundistas or landowners. That led to the concentration of land in a few hands, and the land in turn was worked by slaves captured in wars of conquest. Small farmer-held farms were gradually replaced by those huge latifundia, bought for booty, and the gap between the rich and the poor increased. When the two brothers Gracchus tried in the second century AD to ease the growing gap between rich and the rest by introducing agriculture reforms that limited the powers of the wealthy Senators, they were assassinated by the men of wealth. Today D. Rockefeller is one of the biggest farmland owners in America, receiving millions in taxpayer dollars as subsidy to boot.

The government of Imperial Rome didn’t have a proper budget system. They too squandered resources maintaining the empire while itself producing little of value. When the spoils from conquered territories were no longer enough to cover expenses, they turned to higher taxes, shifting the burden of the immense military structure onto the citizenry. Higher taxes forced many more small farmers to let their land go barren. To distract its citizens from the worsening conditions, the Roman ruling oligarch politicians handed out free wheat to the poor and entertained them with circuses, chariot races, throwing Christians to the lions and other entertainments, the notorious “bread and circuses” strategy of keeping unrest at bay.

The next fundamental change that mortally wounded the Roman Empire was the shift from a draft army made up of citizen farmer soldiers to one of paid professional career soldiers as the ever-more distant wars became more unpopular. It was not unlike what took place in America in the years after the Vietnam War when President Nixon abolished the draft in favor of an “all volunteer” Army, after the popular anti-war protest became a threat to the future agendas of the military.

As conditions for Roman soldiers in faraway wars became more onerous, more incentives were needed to staff the legions. Limiting of military service to citizens was dropped and Roman citizenship could be won in exchange for military service, not unlike what is taking place now as immigrant youth are being promised US citizenship if they risk their lives for America’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere.

The revelation of a $6.5 trillion Army bookkeeping disaster is but a symptom. A Presidential race pitting Democrat Hillary Clinton against Republican Donald Trump is but a symptom. A nation that spends on wars everywhere in the world while ignoring its domestic infrastructure decay whose proper rehabilitation would cost an estimated $3.6 trillion, merely half of what the US Army cannot account for is, sadly, destined to collapse. Unless of course the American people get disgusted with the Sodom and Gomorrah that today is Washington, and begin to act outside the matrix.

Read More At: Journal.Neo.org
_________________________________________________________________

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

Obamacare On “Verge Of Collapse” As Premiums Set To Soar Again In 2017

WHO'S SREWED IF OBAMACARE GETS THE AX?
Source: ZeroHedge.com
August 11, 2016

If Obamacare enrollments continue their current trend and insurers continue to hike premiums at alarming rates then Republicans may not have to worry about “repealing and replacing Obamacare” as it might just work itself out “naturally”.  The 4th open enrollment period for Obamacare begins on November 1, 2016 and industry experts are warning that another year of tepid demand from “young and healthy” Americans could force more insurers out of the exchanges effectively marking the end of Obamacare as we know it.  According to a story published by The Hill, 11 million people bought health insurance through the exchanges for 2016 which was drastically below the Congressional Budget Office’s initial projection of 21 million.

Well we’re shocked!  Turns out that whole “adverse selection bias” was a real thing.  So you’re telling us that young, healthy people don’t want to pay for insurance they know they’ll never use?  We guess America’s youth can actually do basic math, after all.  Apparently they were able to figure out they would rather take the lower tax associated with Obamacare penalties than the larger tax associated with buying a healthcare policy they’ll never use.  We guess Millennials are a little less enthusiastic about embracing socialism when the costs are coming out of their pockets.

With America’s youth continuing to shun health insurance, insurers are all racking up massive losses on the exchanges.  For many insurers the losses will simply result in massive premium hikes but others have decided to withdraw from the exchanges all together.  In fact, UnitedHealthCare recently announced plans to exit most state exchanges by 2017 (see our post entitled “Largest US Health Insurer Exits California, Illinois Obamacare Markets“)  Per The Hill:

In the last month, two major insurers – Aetna and Anthem – both reversed course on their plans to expand in the marketplace. Now, all five of the nation’s largest insurers say they are losing money on the exchanges.

 

“From a policy point of view, we’re basically seeing the exchanges unravel,” said Michael Abrams, a healthcare strategist with Numerof & Associates who consults for insurers including UnitedHealthGroup.

2016 average premiums were up substantially in most states (see map below) and, with no one making money, 2017 seems no better.  According to The Hill:

Already, many insurers this year are proposing substantial rate hikes with the hopes of making up for higher recent medical costs. The average premium increase next year is about 9 percent, according to an analysis of 19 cities by Kaiser Family Foundation. But some hikes are far higher: Blue Cross Blue Shield has proposed increases of 40 percent in Alabama and 60 percent in Texas.

Obamacare Premium Map

For her part, Hillary Clinton has vowed to stick with Obamacare insisting that taxpayers just need to spend more money on advertising to drive higher enrollments:

Clinton has already laid out plans to help boost enrollment by making coverage more affordable for people who are still priced out of ObamaCare.

 

Like Obama, she vowed to invest in advertising and in-person outreach to help more people enroll. Clinton would also increase ObamaCare subsidies so that customers spend no more than 8.5 percent of their income on premiums – down from 9.5 percent under current law.

 

She has also proposed a tax credit of up to $5,000 per family specifically to offset rising out-of-pocket costs – a side effect of cheaper plans offered under ObamaCare.

Right, more advertising should fix it because no one in the country is familiar with Obamacare.  As Obama likes to say when things don’t go as planned, it’s not that Obamacare is bad it’s just that we’ve failed to explain it properly.  No, we think people get it and they just don’t like it.   

We also find it hard to understand how a Clinton administration could make healthcare cheaper than “free?”  Perhaps we should start paying people to take taxpayer subsidized healthcare?  If at first you don’t succeed, throw more taxpayer money at it…

US Corporations Hide $1.4 TRILLION In Tax Havens

Source: RT
April 26, 2016

Anti-poverty charity Oxfam released a new report entitled, Broken at the Top, which asserts that the US’s top 50 corporations have stashed $1.4 trillion in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes. Worse, the report asserts that, in the same time period, those same corporations actually received $11 trillion in federal loans, bailouts, and loan guarantees – from the rest of America’s taxpayers.

SCIENCE FACT: The U.S. government has paid out $3 billion to vaccine-injured families

Vaccine injuries
Source: NaturalNews
J.D. Heyes
March 27, 2016

Americans are routinely told by traditional medical doctors, healthcare providers, government agencies and elected officials that “vaccines are safe,” and yet that doesn’t explain why billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to compensate families whose little loved ones have been severely affected or killed by vaccines.

In all, according to official federal government figures, taxpayers are on the hook for more than $3.3 billion in compensation costs,[PDF] as noted by the Health Resources and Services Administration, which tracks payouts made via the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

“Being awarded compensation for a petition does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the alleged injury. In fact: Over 80 percent of all compensation awarded by the VICP comes as result of a negotiated settlement between the parties in which HHS has not concluded, based upon review of the evidence, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury,” the HRSA noted in a recent report.

But then when has money ever been a consideration for the federal government? And in order to bolster the government’s own claims that “vaccines are safe,” why wouldn’t Uncle Sam litigate – if he’s right?

The fact is, even the government admits that vaccines are not 100 percent safe, even while attempting to downplay the dangers:

The United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history. In the majority of cases, vaccines cause no side effects, however they can occur, as with any medication—but most are mild. Very rarely, people experience more serious side effects, like allergic reactions.

In those instances, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) allows individuals to file a petition for compensation

Vaccine makers off the hook financially and otherwise

The compensation fund was begun in 1986 for the very reasons vaccine choice advocates routinely attempt to point out – because of bad vaccines.

As reported by Health Impact News:

In 1986 the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established by Congress because the drug manufacturers threatened to stop manufacturing vaccines if they were not granted legal immunity from damages due to vaccines. It was no longer profitable for them to continue manufacturing vaccines in a free market, because of the large amount of lawsuits for injuries and deaths due to vaccines. So instead of requiring the drug companies to produce safer vaccines, Congress granted them total immunity from civil litigation due to injuries or deaths resulting from vaccines.

What’s more, as mentioned, taxpayers are on the hook for financing the compensation fund – not the vaccine makers.

Health Impact News reported further that, as of mid-March, the compensation program held more than $3.5 billion, a fund that is fed by a 75-cent tax on all vaccines administered.

And speaking of litigation, it turns out that the government isn’t nearly so charitable either. Health Impact News further notes that the government does indeed spend millions to fight some claims, postponing inevitable settlements as long as a decade and causing further (undue) pain to grieving families.

Continue Reading At: NaturalNews.com

How Government Enables The Opioid Epidemic & Tax-Payers Help Fund It

Pills Prescription Painkillers - Public Domain

Source:Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola
March 16, 2016

We are in the middle of an opioid and heroin epidemic, which is killing ever increasing numbers of Americans at an astonishing rate.

In 2014, almost 30,000 people died from heroin and opioids (also called narcotic prescription painkillers), exceeding those who died from car accidents during the same year, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1

Prescriptions for opioids have risen by 300 percent over the past 10 years and fed the heroin epidemic as the tolerance of opioid addicts surpasses their allotted prescription dosage and/or they are no longer allowed to refill their prescription.

In April of 2015, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also noted that “Controlled prescription drug abusers who begin using heroin do so chiefly because of price differences.”2

Most people know there is a prescription painkiller epidemic underway but few realize how much the government is enabling it,  how much taxpayers are subsidizing it, and how this is the root cause of the current heroin epidemic.

Conflicts of Interest Color Pain Treatment

In February, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter to Sylvia Burwell, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about the glaring conflicts of interest at the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, convened as part of the Affordable Health Care Act3 to improve pain-related treatment strategies.4

Questions began to arise when members of the panel objected to federal suggestions that doctors reduce opioid prescriptions for chronic pain.5 According to the Associated Press, conflicts at the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee include:

“[T]wo panelists work[ing] for the Center for Practical Bioethics, a Kansas City group which receives funding from multiple drugmakers, including OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, which donated $100,000 in 2013.

One panelist holds a chair at the center created by a $1.5-million donation from Purdue Pharma. The other has received more than $8,660 in speaking fees, meals, travel accommodations and other payments from pain drugmakers …

A third member of the panel is a director with the U.S. Pain Foundation, a nonprofit that receives most of its funding from drugmakers, including a $104,800 donation from Purdue Pharma in 2014, according to IRS Records cited by Wyden.

Two other panelists are connected to the American Chronic Pain Association, another nonprofit that receives substantial funding from drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca Plc, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. and AbbVie Inc.”

Big Pharma Money Responsible for Loosening US Drug Policies

The panelists, who appear to be foxes guarding the hen house, are not the only experts developing drug policies while taking opioid makers’ money.

In 2009, the American Geriatrics Society changed its guidelines to recommend “that over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, be used rarely and that doctors instead consider prescribing opioids for all patients with moderate to severe pain.”6

Half the panel’s experts “had financial ties to opioid companies, as paid speakers, consultants or advisers at the time the guidelines were issued,” reporter John Fauber writes.

The University of Wisconsin’s Pain & Policy Studies Group also took $2.5 million from opioid makers even as it pushed for looser use of narcotic painkillers.7

Federal officials have also been intensely lobbied by a drug company-funded group called IMMPACT whose stated goal is “improving the design, execution, and interpretation of clinical trials of treatments for pain.”8,9

For a fee that could be as high as $35,000, IMMPACT promises to get drug company representatives into invitation-only meetings of government officials and academic leaders, often at elegant places, where they can lobby NIH researchers and FDA officials one-on-one.

The public and press are not included in the meetings, which date back to 2002. Both Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, and Janssen, which makes the opioids Duragesic and Nucynta, have acknowledged the value of IMMPACT.10

Many Opioids Makers Rely on Taxpayer Funded Programs for Profits

According to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the HHS, spending on opioids in the Medicare system, which of course is funded by our tax dollars, grew at a faster rate than spending for all drugs. It writes:11

“Between 2006 and 2014, spending for commonly abused opioids grew from $1.5 billion to $3.9 billion, an increase of 156 percent …

Growth in spending for these opioids outpaced both the growth in spending for all Part D drugs (which grew 136 percent) and the growth in the number of beneficiaries receiving Part D drugs (which grew 68 percent).12

The total number of beneficiaries receiving these opioids grew by 92 percent, compared to 68 percent for all drugs, while the average number of prescriptions for commonly abused opioids per beneficiary grew by 20 percent, compared to 3 percent for all drugs.”

Clearly, not only are many Medicare recipients receiving opioids (no doubt thanks to groups like the American Geriatrics Society) they are receiving multiple prescriptions for them.

Even more concerning is the fact that many Medicare patients are being prescribed opioids for reasons other than cancer pain or terminal illness, the traditional uses of these strong medications according to published source.13 In some states over 40 percent of Medicare patients receive opioids.14

Government Paid-For Over-Dispensing of Opioids Is Widespread

According to the OIG, thousands of pharmacies are believed to be over-dispensing opioids within the Medicare system and likely involved in fraud.15

At least 1,432 retail pharmacies showed questionable activity, including 468 that had triple the average percentage of prescriptions for commonly abused opioids.16 In the case of one pharmacy, reports the Detroit News:17

“58 percent of the prescriptions it billed to Medicare’s program were for commonly abused opioids, compared with the nationwide average of 6 percent. The pharmacy billed opiate prescriptions for 93 percent of the Medicare patients it served last year …

Pharmacies with high percentages of prescriptions for narcotics raise flags about potential billing for extra drugs that are never dispensed and diverted for resale, or otherwise used inappropriately, according to the report.”

Medicaid programs, also supported by taxpayers but administered by states, also reveal excessive opioid use and probable fraud.18 In 2010, 359,368 Medicaid enrollees received an opioid prescription amounting to over 2 million prescriptions and again suggesting many prescriptions per patient.19

In 2009, 41.4 percent of Medicaid-enrolled women filled an opioid prescription compared with 29.1 percent of privately insured women, offering further proof that opioid makers are relying on public funds for their sales and profits.20

Millions of Tax Payer Dollars Used for Opioid Prescriptions

While Medicaid programs likely provide generic combinations of the active ingredient in OxyContin, hydrocodone, to patients, which cost about $28 for a 120-day supply (compared with $632 brand name OxyContin),21 taxpayers are still paying at least $56 million for Medicaid opioid prescriptions.

The cost of the opioid prescriptions does not take into consideration state-run drug treatment programs and services that are required if and when enrollees become addicted.

In December 2015, Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, settled an ongoing lawsuit brought by the state of Kentucky for $24 million over presenting OxyContin as “nonaddictive.”22 Purdue contended that the pill slowly releases the drug over 12 hours when swallowed, omitting the fact that, when crushed, OxyContin lost its time release protections and created an instant high.

“State officials said that led to a wave of addiction and increased medical costs across the state, particularly in eastern Kentucky where many injured coal miners were prescribed the drug,” reported the Associated Press. (Purdue substituted an abuse-deterrent version in 2010.)23

The 2015 settlement is similar to one Purdue Pharma agreed to in 2007 with the state of West Virginia, when it agreed to pay out $634 million for “fraudulent conduct caused a greater amount of OxyContin to be available for illegal use than otherwise would have been available.”24

Continue Reading At: Mercola.com