Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are about as polar opposites as two politicians can be. Sanders is a “tax the rich” liberal Democrat. Trump is the rich guy Bernie wants to tax and a conservative Republican to boot. But they both appear to agree that big pharma is screwing the little guy and must be stopped.
We hear countless stories of people forced to choose between food or medicine. While we understand that drug companies need to make a profit to fund more research, there is little sympathy when a drug price suddenly skyrockets by 1000% or more.
Americans pay the highest drug prices in the world. The same drugs you have in your medicine cabinet are often half the price in Canada. Yet last week, the Senate refused to endorse a measure to allow patients to get their drugs in Canada. Even liberal NJ Senator Cory Booker voted against it.
Why? Because big pharma funnels millions of dollars into political campaigns.
During the campaign Sanders claimed that one on five adults in the US don’t fill prescriptions because they cannot afford them.
Donald Trump was apparently listening! Last week he tweeted that “[Drug companies] are getting away with murder. Pharma has a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. We’re going to save billions of dollars over a period of time,”
Big pharma is apparently taking that threat seriously. The stock price of pharmaceutical companies dropped within minutes of his comments. The industry lost billions of dollars of market value. According to Stat News, one lobbyist said, “Nobody’s provoking him into talking about it. Pharma should be soiling themselves over this.”
So, what will actually happen? It’s hard to tell. In the first legislative test, senators on both sides of the aisle got cold feet. Both Democrats and Republicans blocked a measure to allow cross border purchases.
Getting Congress to wean itself off millions of dollars of campaign contributions won’t be easy.
Is there a better way?
Pharmaceutical Whistleblowers and the False Claims Act
The best fix for runaway drug prices and outrageous pharmaceutical executive salaries must come from Congress. Whistleblowers, however, can be a very effective weapon in enforcing existing laws.
There are several big scams today involving the pharmaceutical industry. These include, “pay to delay,” off label use, illegal kickbacks and production or importation of adulterated / sub potent drugs. Each of these violations can be prosecuted under the False Claims Act.
Pay to delay occurs when a pharmaceutical company with a drug coming off patent pays generic companies to stay out of the marketplace. That gives big pharma a couple more years to gouge U.S. consumers.
Off label use occurs when a drug company pushes doctors to prescribe a medication for a use not approved by the FDA. While doctors can do this, Medicare and Medicaid won’t pay for off label use.
Kickbacks and manufacturing defects are self explanatory.
Under the Act, a pharmaceutical whistleblower can receive up to 30% of whatever the government collects from a wrongdoer. (The average award is 15% to 20%.)
It’s not just drug prices that are high. Fines levied on pharmaceutical companies for violating the Act are also high. Often they are $100 million or more. And big fines mean big awards for pharmaceutical whistleblowers.
MahanyLaw – America’s Whistleblower Lawyers
The False Claims Act (qui tam) lawyers at MahanyLaw have helped clients collect over $100 million in awards. We are not afraid to take on big pharma. We want to help our clients stop fraud, end greed and collect the maximum award possible.
Need more information? Visit our pharmaceutical whistleblowers information page or contact us directly. The author of this post, attorney Brian Mahany, can be reached at or by phone at (414) 704-6731 (direct).
All inquiries are kept strictly confidential.
MahanyLaw – America’s Whistleblower Lawyers – We Sue Big Pharma