The Daily Reckoning
January 14, 2017
Snippet: “3. Cartel Cronyism You know the drill: regulatory capture, monopolies enforced by the central state, cartels that eliminate competition via absurdly complex regulations imposed by the state, etc.
One of my correspondents, a doctor, recently sent me an example of cartel cronyism in the Big Pharma sector:
A lot of people don’t know that if a Big Pharma company makes a pill with a new dose, or new method of administration of an old, generic drug – in the eyes of the FDA it becomes a new, on-patent drug, which no other Big Pharma company can copy, thus setting the stage for making billions with minimal R&D costs.
Naloxone was invented in 1961, and was in standard use when I started my medical training in 1974. It is a terrific drug – within 60 seconds it completely reverses the effects of narcotics, making it a life-saver for folks who’ve overdosed. I have used it many times with great success. So far, so good. Per goodrx.com, I can buy two pre-loaded syringes of naloxone for $34.12 today.
There is virtually zero learning curve – it works if injected under the skin, in a muscle, or in a vein. For an untrained person facing an overdose patient, you can just stab the needle up to the hilt into a buttock or shoulder, and push the plunger – it’s that easy. If it’s truly life or death, you can stab it through clothes – sound hard?
Well, kaleo pharmaceuticals have repackaged it in an auto-injecting form, with a little voice-guided thingy – somehow managed to make it a no-copay for folks with health insurance, and you can get it in my area for – are you sitting down? – $3,844.60! That is more than one hundred times the cost of the two pre-loaded syringes.
It MIGHT be worth it if it was really hard to use, and required an auto-injector and voice commands – but it’s easy as pie – I could teach you how to use the pre-loaded syringe in 5 minutes. At a savings of $3,810.48.
The advert claims “$0 copay for commercially insured patients.” So as long as somebody else pays the $3,844.60 — insurers, the government, anybody but the patient — it’s all “free,” right?
Well, actually, no.
The soaring cost of cartel cronyism is paid by all of us when the federal government borrows money to pay the bills or insurers are nailed for fraudulent charges, overbilling, needless tests and Big Pharma’s 100-fold cost increases.
Medicare costs are expanding at a rate that far exceeds the GDP growth of the economy which supports Medicare spending.” – Charles Hugh Smith