What do Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders have in common? The answer? They all think that big pharmaceutical companies put profits before patients.
Before the election, Hillary’s website had this to say about the pharmaceutical industry, “Her plan will demand a stop to excessive profiteering and marketing by denying tax breaks for direct-to-consumer advertising and demanding that drug companies invest in R&D in exchange for taxpayer support – rather than marketing or excessive profits. She will encourage competition to get more generics on the market and create a Federal backstop for when there are excessively high-priced drugs that face no competition.”
Bernie Sanders outlined a 6 point strategy to lower prescription drug prices. He also correctly noted that the United States has the highest drug prices in the world. The cost to fill a prescription is so high that nearly 1 in 5 adults didn’t get their prescriptions filled last year.
And President Trump? Just before his inauguration he claimed the industry is “getting away with murder.” According to Trump, “Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly.”
So if everyone agrees that drug prices need to come down, will they?
A report today suggests big pharma is spending $10’s of millions on an ad campaign to win our hearts and minds! Not only is the pharmaceutical industry raising a $100 million for its war chest, they want to spend millions to show us they are good guys.
The trade publication Endpoint News says much of pharma’s money will be spent on advertising the “exciting breakthroughs in science” made possible by the pharmaceutical industry and also the high costs necessary to bring a new drug to market.
Maybe so. We don’t deny either of those premises are true. But prices for the same drugs in Canada are often half of what they cost in the U.S. And why did companies such as Valeant and Mylan dramatically raise prices on certain critical drugs virtually overnight?
One poll says that only 9% of Americans believe that the industry puts patients first. With a public approval rate that abysmal, we don’t think any amount of advertising will change the public’s mind.
We know that the industry will try to spend their way out of the things. A $100 million war chest seems like a huge amount to spend on a PR campaign. Remember, however, that the drug companies are making billions of dollars each year.
So, what can be done to hold the industry accountable?
First, make sure you let you let your elected representatives know exactly how you feel. Big pharma is one of the biggest donors to political campaigns. During this last campaign, the pharmaceutical industry donated an average of between $32,000 and $82,000 to every House and Senate member. That’s millions of dollars each year.
This year, the Republicans received more than the Democrats. But candidates from both sides are getting big checks. It’s no wonder why a resolution to lower drug prices failed in the Senate last week.
All the donations in the world are meaningless if your representative doesn’t get re-elected. That is why it is critical to let these folks know exactly how you feel. They may like the big check they get from the drug companies but they still need your vote.
Next, report wrongdoing. For that average consumer that is difficult but if you are one of the tens of thousands of people working in the industry or a healthcare provider, read on. You may be eligible for an award.
False Claims Act and Pharma Whistleblower Awards
The False Claims Act is a Civil War era anti-fraud law that is still on the books and more powerful than ever. Under the Act, whistleblowers with inside information about wrongdoing can earn a substantial cash award.
To qualify for a pharma whistleblower award, one should be the original source of information relating to misuse of federal or state funds and programs. A large percentage of prescriptions drugs are paid through Medicaid, Medicare, the VA or Tricare. That means tax dollars.
There are several fraudulent pharma schemes that may be eligible for an award. These include prescribing drugs for a use not approved by the FDA (off labeling), allowing contaminated or understrength products into the market (cGMP violations) and not giving the government the best prices (Medicaid). With average awards in pharma case exceeding $1 million, big whistleblower awards are possible.
We understand that pharmaceutical companies are entitled to make a profit. Some of the recent conduct by big pharma, however, is outrageous. If you have inside information about fraud or corrupt greed involving the pharma industry, call us.
Attorney Brian Mahany can be reached at or by phone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). We welcome calls and questions! You can also visit our pharmaceutical fraud whistleblower page. All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept confidential.
MahanyLaw – Big Pharma Whistleblower Lawyers