I want to revisit the Trans Pacific Trade Pact and its goal for health industry profits. TPP neo-liberals and neo-cons are pushing all over the world to end public health subsidies and generic manufacturing industries that are big in the developing world. NEO-LIBERALS WORK FOR BIG PHARMA. The intent is that generics will be made scarce and that laws extending the number of years patents on brand names last will make generics available only after a longer period and often after these drugs are no longer effective. What this looks like in a developed world like the US and Europe is that generics will be priced too high to afford according to which corporate profits are effected. The quote above tells the story and Maryland and especially Baltimore is ground zero for pushing the most people into preventative care only while eliminating Medicare through privatization. Remember, these baby boomers aging into these laws paid their entire life income and payroll taxes to create these medical advancements. They are not coincidentally the same people falling victim to wealth stealth by massive corporate fraud as was the Medicare Trust. So, baby boomers paid for all the coverage that is now trying to be denied through the Republican plan to privatize Medicare and Medicaid and hand all public health to global corporations.
Below you will see an article that speaks to this rise and it does not mention Trans Pacific Trade Pact and its intent to end public subsidies for health and limit generics to boost markets for brand name PHARMA. Think about the research centers attached to corporate universities like Johns Hopkins all geared to roll out one patented drug after another none of which will improve health but simply create a product that can be marketed.
THIS IS WHAT TPP SEEKS TO PROTECT----THIS PHARMA PIPELINE THAT FLOODS THE MARKET WITH PRODUCTS WITH QUESTIONABLE EFFICACY.
If you watch free TV in Maryland and Baltimore's especially----you see nothing but advertisements for class action laws suits by people harmed from bad PHARMA and medical devices. This is towards what Trans Pacific Trade Pact takes the US and it is what the Affordable Care Act is doing as it moves Medicare patients to generics just as this market is under attack.
WHO WILL BE ABLE TO AFFORD MEDICATIONS? NOT THE 80% OF PEOPLE HEADING TO MEDICAID AND BRONZE PLANS AND THIS WILL BE MEDICARE PATIENTS AS WELL.
Federal officials demanding to know why prices are soaring-----WHAT PROPAGANDA. THEY VOTED THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT INTO LAW DIDN'T THEY? It is a disgrace that a Baltimore pol like Cummings is shown here protesting what was health law written by Johns Hopkins for one. Cummings knew the ACA was simply a mirror of Clinton's deregulation and consolidation of the banking industry giving us Wall Street----how can that end well?
AND CUMMINGS VOTED FOR THE BANKS THEN TOO!
Officials Question the Rising Costs of Generic Drugs
By ELISABETH ROSENTHALOCT. 7, 2014 New York Times
The prices of some generic drugs have soared more than 1,000 percent in the last year, and federal officials are demanding that generic drug makers explain the reasons for the increases or potentially face new regulation.
The increased use of generic drugs has been one of the rare success stories in national efforts to curb the nation’s $2.8 trillion medical bill, since generics have historically been far cheaper than name-brand versions. More than eight in 10 prescriptions are filled with generic drugs, according to the Food and Drug Administration. In the 10-year period from the beginning of 2003 through 2012, generic drug use has generated more than $1.2 trillion in savings, according to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.
But prices of some generic drugs have risen sharply recently, prompting the new congressional investigation, led by Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Bernard Sanders, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging.
They said they undertook the investigation because of recent complaints from constituents, pharmacists and in the media. They are focusing on 10 drugs whose large price increases came to their attention.
“Generic drugs were meant to help make medications affordable for the millions of Americans who rely on prescriptions to manage their health needs,” Senator Sanders said in a statement. “We’ve got to get to the bottom of these enormous price increases.”
Some of the rises have been huge, according to data released by the lawmakers. The price that hospitals and pharmacies pay for a bottle of 500 tablets of doxycycline, a decades-old antibiotic, rose to $1,849 in April, from $20 in October 2013. The price they pay for a bottle of pravastatin, a drug to lower cholesterol, rose to $196 from $27 in that same time. The price of a pill of digoxin, a centuries-old medicine that is irreplaceable for some cardiac patients, rose to $1.10 this summer from 11 cents in 2012.
Some or all of such price increases are passed on to patients.
Late last week, the lawmakers sent letters to 14 drug makers that make or distribute the 10 generic drugs, requesting explanations for price increases. They may hold hearings depending on the response, which is due by Oct. 23. Some manufacturers have already promised cooperation.
“The first thing we need to understand is why these drug companies are raising their prices so dramatically in such a short period of time, which is why we asked for information about the costs to produce these drugs compared to the prices they are now charging,” Representative Cummings said this week. “Once we receive that information, we will be in a better position to evaluate the root causes of these massive increases and, if necessary, consider reforms.”
In a statement, Ralph G. Neas, president and chief executive of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, said that facts about generic drug prices had been “mischaracterized,” focusing on a handful of drugs with big price increases, among the thousands of “safe, affordable” generic medicines.
Generic drug prices are generally lower than brand-name drugs because manufacturers are competing to sell medicines that are essentially interchangeable. But studies have shown that for competition to bring price down significantly, four or five companies usually need to be making a drug.
Drug prices can rise for several reasons related to normal shifts in supply. Companies can leave the market, resulting in decreased supply and less competition. A factory producing the drug may be temporarily closed for violations. But there has been increasing concern that, in some cases, prices rise because of questionable business practices or market manipulation. In the last several years, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general have taken aim at a practice called “pay for delay,” in which brand manufacturers pay generic drug makers to hold off entering the market.
This summer, after a New York Times article about increases in the price of generic digoxin, the Connecticut attorney general issued a subpoena to Lannett, a Philadelphia-based company that is a major distributor of the drug, to assess whether it was engaging in “fixing, maintaining or controlling prices of digoxin” in violation of antitrust law.
In September, the company said its internal review concluded that it had “acted in compliance with applicable laws and regulations with regard to the pricing.”
The attorney general’s office said the investigation was continuing.
Have you seen big price spikes in how much your medicine costs? Are you splitting pills in half to make your prescriptions last longer? Weigh in here: http://www.sanders.senate.gov/drug-prices
YOUR NEO-LIBERAL AND NEO-CON KNOWS WHY GENERICS COSTS ARE SOARING----THAT IS THE PLAN!
Secretive trade pact called 'most harmful ever' for affordable medicine
Global health advocates say the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement between the US and 11 other countries, is an attack on public health. Part of the proposal was published by WikiLeaks last week.
1 / 10About 120 people gathered outside The Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake City Tuesday to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement between the United States and 11 other countries that many activists are calling an attack on public health. PHOTO BY: Elizabeth Stuart SALT LAKE CITY — “Humans before profit!”
“Stop the corporate coup!”
“We are stakeholders, too!”
These were the slogans of a rally outside Salt Lake City’s Grand American Hotel Tuesday, where about 120 people gathered to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement between the United States and 11 other countries.
While protesters marched through the rain, chanting and waving brightly colored signs, inside the hotel, negotiators met for the first time since WikiLeaks published a draft of the TPP’s chapter on intellectual property last week. In the leaked draft, US officials proposed strengthening and lengthening pharmaceutical patents while dismantling international laws designed to keep medicine affordable.
The negotiations, which have been in the works for several years and are expected to wrap up by the end of 2013, are closed to the public. But some 600 corporations, including Walmart and Monsanto, have been included in the deliberations as “trade advisors.” Global health advocates are calling the trade agreement an attack on public health.
“This is a horrible betrayal of the American promise of liberty, of equality, of a government that is not controlled by a tyranny of the few,” said former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, who spoke at the rally. This is not, he declared to a whistling, cheering crowd, “a government of the people, by the people or for the people.”
The TPP has been the "cornerstone of the Obama Administration's economic policy in the Asia Pacific," and a press release by the White House stated that the 12 participating countries view the proposed agreement "as a model for future trade agreements and a promising pathway to our APEC goal of building a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific." An editorial in the New York Times argued the agreement could strengthen relations between the United States and its Asian allies.
But Tuesday's protest made it clear that many oppenents see TPP as very dangerous.
According to the leaked document, the United States is pushing to extend monopoly protection by stretching drug patent terms from 20 years to at least 25 years. The proposal would also allowing pharmaceutical companies to patent new formulations of existing medicines, a process called “evergreening,” which draws out the number of years a company maintains exclusive rights to a drug.
“When the patent runs down, you just turn a liquid gel cap into a heat stable tablet and you hold on to your monopoly,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines program, in a phone interview. “There’s no competition, so the prices are sky high.”
If instituted as proposed, the TPP would further hamper the development of competition by prohibiting authorities from approving generic medicines until after patents have expired, he said. Even then, the agreement would prevent drug safety regulators from using clinical data to get market approval for generic drugs.
Global access to medicine relies, in large part, on the development of affordable generics, Maybarduk said. For example, before the development of generic antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, treatment cost $10,000 per person, per year. It was a crippling price tag for anyone, he said, but for people living in low- and middle-income countries, “a diagnosis was a death sentence.”
Now that generic drugs have introduced competition into the market, the cost of treatment has dropped to less than $100 per person annually. The price reduction has enabled publicly funded programs like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief, founded under the Bush administration, to support care for more than 10 million people. Eighty percent of the antiretroviral medicines used in developing countries are generic drugs produced in India.
Current global agreements, established by the World Trade Organization in 1995, establish patent monopolies for pharmaceutical products, but also include legal safeguards that empower poor countries, where high costs may bar sick people from getting medicine, to develop cheaper alternatives. Some countries, like India, have outlawed “evergreening.” If passed, the TPP would overturn these protections.
“This proposal will raise drug prices and keep medicines unaffordable and out of reach,” Maybarduk said. “If it’s instituted, it will most certainly lead to preventable suffering and death.”
Outside The Grand American Hotel, protesters stood beneath two mammoth banners that read, “We the People” vs. “We the Corporations.” The crowd chanted, “Flush the TPP! Flush the TPP!”
Amidst the hubbub, two men wrapped in nondescript trench coats slipped out the front door of the Grand America. They kept their eyes fixed on the ground as they headed for the street, keeping their distance from the crowd.
Fists raised to the air, most carried on with their chanting. But Tami Canal, a 31-year-old Salt Lake City resident who came to the rally with her two children, spotted the men.
“Hey!” she called, grabbing her 7-year-old’s hand and heading after the two officials with the stroller carrying her 2-year-old. Her hand-made protest signs flapped in the wind as she ran, blonde hair bouncing against her shoulders.
“Hey! Are you negotiators working on the TPP?”
Her only answer was the sharp smack of the men’s dress shoes on the rain-soaked sidewalk as they hurried away.
“There are more of us outside this building than inside it,” she said. “I want to let them know we’re not going down without a fight.”
The medical humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres has called the TPP “the most harmful trade pact ever for access to medicines in developing countries.”
“This is a game changer for anyone who provides medical care in the developing world,” said Judit Rius, the US manager of MSF’s access to medicine campaign.
The proposed patent laws threaten to unravel some of the progress made against some infectious diseases, Rius said. In their clinics, for example, MSF has observed a rise in resistance to antiretroviral drugs.
“When patients develop resistance to the first line of treatment, they have to be moved to new, stronger products,” she said. “Most of these medicines are protected by patents and there is no generic competition.”
Even among negotiators, the United States’ position is unpopular. Five countries, including Chile, Malaysia and Singapore, have banded together to write up a counter-proposal that maintains the international standards set by the World Trade Organization.
“We want to show there is opposition to this within the US, so delegates from other countries can feel emboldened to stop being bullied,” said Eric Ross, who helped organize the rally as part of the Backbone Campaign, an organization that provides strategic training and tactical tools to activists.
"We don’t want a kinder, gentler, friendlier trade agreement,” he said. “Really, we just have to stop this outright.”
For the crowd in Salt Lake City, the hush-hush of the negotiations was a particular sticking point. Even activists who follow the issue didn’t know the location of the negotiations until the last minute, said Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of the Washington, DC Citizens Trade Campaign. Still, protesters flew into Salt Lake from all over the United States for the rally.
“There is a reason that the TPP is so secretive,” he said. “And that’s because when people learn what is being proposed in our names they do what we are doing here today. They stand up and they say, ‘no.’”
Standing before the crowd, microphone in hand, Stamoulis led the crowd’s calls for change.
“There are people in this building who think that you’re not paying enough for healthcare,” he shouted. “They want to use the TPP to extend the life of drug patents. Are we going to let them do that?”
“No!” called the crowd in unison.
Another health issue these few weeks has been the EBOLA patient found in the US. I shared with all the CNN report that showed how nations around the world have installed protections against communicable diseases and CNN reported that the US was the only nation with no protections at its airports. We were told by Center for Disease Control -CDC head it was not necessary. This report went on to expose a failure to fund training and readiness all across the nation and that only 4 hospitals were prepared for outbreaks.
THIS IS BECAUSE ALL FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL TAX REVENUE IS GOING TO CORPORATE SUBSIDY.
Mainstream news then went on to blame the nurses at this Texas hospital for the failure to contain and identify this man's disease. IT IS THE FAILURE OF THE NURSES they say and not a total dismantling of the American CDC agency!
I remind people of a few years ago when we had that small epidemic of Swine Flu that proved to be extremely dangerous to all. The American people watched on TV news as the CDC could not identify a disease vector-----could not coordinate isolation----and could not expedite the manufacturing of vaccine as not enough was produced to cover the number of people with the flu. We then watched as the CDC identified which population groups would have access to the vaccine.
THIS WAS A WAKE-UP CALL TO ALL AMERICANS THAT OUR CDC IS DISMANTLED AND DEFUNDED AND THE ONLY PLAN IN PLACE IS TO CONTAIN THE DAMAGE AFTER AN EVENT.
This is of course all the nurses fault!
Voice Your Concern: Are U.S. Hospitals Ready to Handle an Ebola Pandemic?
Thank you for participating in the National Nurses United Q/A conference call on Wednesday, October 15 on how prepared US hospitals are to handle the Ebola pandemic.
Please let us know you will be joining us with this RSVP.
If you would like to submit a question for the call, please submit below.
Below you see where again the flu was active and growing in our own back yard of Mexico and the CDC had no knowledge of a growing threat. The prevention and communication system did not work. When worse came to worse people were allowed to buy the limited vaccine as clinics and drug stores in some places sold it to the highest bidder. No amount of readiness will augment the damages of epidemics-----but having the staff and the readiness CAN AND SHOULD BE IN PLACE.
Swine Flu Infected Millions in First U.S. Wave, CDC Study Finds
By Jason Gale - October 28, 2009 22:14 EDT
Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Swine flu may have infected as many as 5.7 million people in an initial wave that swept across the U.S. earlier this year, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Harvard School of Public Health said.
System Set Up After SARS Epidemic Was Slow to Alert Global Authorities
By David Brown Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Despite huge efforts in the past six years to make the reporting of disease outbreaks fast and automatic, there were significant delays in bringing Mexico's swine flu outbreak to the full attention of international authorities.
News of an outbreak of severe respiratory illness in Mexico burst into public consciousness last Friday, April 24.
That was 18 days after public health authorities there started looking into unusual cases of pneumonia in their country, eight days after Mexican authorities notified the World Health Organization of the growing outbreak and four days after the events came to the full attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Officials involved in pandemic preparedness at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, did not learn of the Mexican outbreak until the day the rest of the world did, April 24. They did know, however, that the CDC was investigating six rare cases of swine influenza in California and Texas
---it seems these employees are now the problem with health care costs from decades of massive health industry fraud and corruption stealing trillions of dollars from our Medicare Trusts and Medicaid.
FROM NATION NURSES UNITED- Medicare for All
Astronomical healthcare costs and lack of access continue to drive individuals, families and businesses past their breaking point while insurance companies continue to soak-up billions of healthcare dollars as millions of children's basic needs go unmet. NNU supports the American Health Security Act of 2013, H.R. 1200 and S. 1782, by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Jim McDermott, that requires each participating state to set up and administer comprehensive healthcare services as an entitlement for all, through a progressively financed, single-payer system, administered by the states.
Medicare, which has provided guaranteed healthcare for millions of American seniors, marks its 49th anniversary July 30. The American Health Security Act, H.R. 1200 and S. 1782, would establish a Medicare for all, single-payer healthcare system that would end health disparities, effectively control costs, and assure that everyone has equal access to an excellent standard of care.
As they say below the ACA strengthens all of what was creating the high health costs----it gives control of policy to the same health institutions enriched from these decades of fraud. The incentives from ACA are squarely with health institutions creating policy to exclude people from access in order to lower costs to Medicare because the Trust has been looted.
Where the law falls short:
- No relief on costs. Insurance companies, drug companies, and hospitals will still largely be able to charge what they want. Restrictions on premium rate increases and out of pocket costs are limited and will likely be ineffective. The probable result —a continuation of bankruptcies linked to high medical bills, and many people, including those forced to buy insurance, skipping needed care because of high out of pocket costs
- Insurance denials. Insurance companies will still be able to deny medical treatment, diagnostic procedures, and referrals, citing such excuses as the care is “experimental,” or “not medically justified.” They will be able to dictate the order of tests and course of treatment. The recourses for patients will remain weak.
- Not universal. Before the court decision, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated up to 27 million people would be left without health coverage under the ACA, mostly people who will still not be able to afford to buy private insurance. However, the court decision permitting states to reject the Medicaid expansion could cause the number left out to jump by as much as several million more. The principle of “all the healthcare you can afford” remains in effect, as the insurance market is divided into multiple risk pools and multiple plans offering different levels of coverage based on price.
- Insurance loopholes. Insurance companies spend a lot of money on lawyers and claims adjustors who will be experts at finding loopholes in the new crackdowns on insurance abuses, for example, creating new marketing techniques to cherry-pick who they cover despite the ban on denials for people with pre-existing conditions. The law also permits insurers to charge more based on age and for those who fail "wellness" programs because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol readings, or other medical conditions. Further insurers will continue to be able to rescind coverage due to "fraud or intentional misrepresentation" - the main pretext they use now.
- Tax on health benefits. For the first time, the law will tax health benefits beginning in 2018. The main target is comprehensive coverage. The inevitable result will be fewer employers offering good health benefits, and far more people pushed into plans with reduced coverage and significantly higher co-pays, deductibles, and other large out-of-pocket costs.
- Eroding RN practice. The law promotes IT systems in healthcare many of which are wasteful and have been used by many employers to erode RN clinical judgment, and promotes dubious standardized protocols and other efficiency measures. Budget pressures will drive these delivery system changes, under the guise of “improving quality.” The law also encourages the use of dubious “patient satisfaction” schemes such as scripting and rounding that typically undermine nursing practice, by linking them to hospital reimbursements. For more on what’s wrong with these schemes, see RN magazine (issue date?)
- The windfall. Billions of additional profits for insurance companies – through the individual mandate and taxpayer funded subsidies to buy private insurance – the drug companies – whose support for the ACA was negotiated by blocking the ability of the federal government to negotiate bulk purchasing discounts – and hospitals – which will get millions of new customers and higher reimbursements. All of which will further strengthen a healthcare system already too focused on profits rather than patient need.