Thyroid UK

OFF TOPIC - Prescription Medications - Wall Street's Drug Problem

I have been reading Vanity Fair - Summer 2016 Edition - and within is an article by Bethany McLean on small pharmaceutical companies being bought up by investors/fund managers for profit alone.

Page 78+.

These are some points:-

Two sisters in the USA have a life-threatening inherited disorder and only about 30,000 people worldwide have this medical condition.

It was only in the mid-50's that a British Doctor discovered two drugs which are now the standard treatment for this condition and must be taken for life. He said that it was cheap to make.

The sisters, in 1987, began the drugs, symptoms went away and both had very highly successful careers.

Then the sisters became aware that their part of the insurance began to climb although they were insulated through health insurance.

That was until 2014 when one sister went to pick up the prescription was told the insurance company refused to pay. Shocked, she asked what was the cost and was told $20,000 for a month's supply.

She eventually got coverage but sisters have to pay $500 and $400 for a three months' supply as It would cost the insurance company more if the sisters developed other serious diseases being unable to get the specialist drugs they need.

One of the above two drugs in the USA now has a list price of around $300,000 for a year's supply. There are no generic versions.

One husband began to investigate and found Merck (the original owner of the drugs) sold the company in 2006 to a small company called Aton who in 2010 sold it to Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

In a 2014 article about Valeant and its CEO in Wall Street Journal and the outrageous price increases of the medicine became clearer. Valeant bought Aton in 2010 for $318 million. Then the CEO of Valeant bragged to investors that the company had quickly earned back 2.5 times its cost. The husband said he then realised "these guys were going to raise prices however much they wanted - with no consequences".

By 2015 the colossus which had been built had an equity market of around $90 billion but the questionable tactics caught up with them this year..........

Is this happening in the UK? On this forum it is liothyronine which has increased and who knows which other drugs in the UK.

Also another company in the USA raised the price of a Full Course of Treatment for another disease to $60,000 which used to be given FREE to patients.

4 Replies

It also demonstrates how BIG Pharma influences Insurance Companies. We will pay for this but not for that and so on ....


Thanks Ellismay for info. I am just catching up on reading posts.


The answer to your question is Yes. The Sunday Times and the Times did an investigation which was published in June. Im not sure why no one noticed hundreds of millions of pounds going out of the NHS budget and then closed the loop hole! Why Jeremy Hunt is still in his job God only knows! No wonder the NHS is broke! These guys were friends with a former PM...Ahem!


Thanks for info.


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