Big Pharma: Making and Deceptively Selling Overpriced Medicines that Make Us Sicker

Rolling Stone has a piece here, a case study of how Big Pharma (in no particular order) markets a product with lies and corrupts the public sector. The sick are made sicker, and all of us get ripped off as a lot of this paid for with Medicare and Medicaid.

The story told is, by and by, the same for a lot of recent meds; this piece is just a great single piece that touches on all the elements.

What Big Pharma has done is awful and inexcusable.

That said, my very favorite piece is this:

Jones continued to probe. Fiorello’s algorithm for Pennsylvania was modeled on a program called TMAP that had been developed by Dr. Steven Shon, medical director of the Texas Department of Mental Health. In all, Jones discovered, Shon and a team of researchers he worked with at the University of Texas had taken more than $2Êmillion in grant money — from atypical manufacturers and their nonprofits — to develop TMAP.

Studies would later show that under the new guidelines, prescriptions of atypical antipsychotics in Texas increased sixfold by 2004. The government of Texas, in effect, had instituted a taxpayer-subsidized marketing scheme for the drug industry, one that gave preferential treatment to the newest and least-tested medications.

When Shon’s group finalized its work in 1997, the manufacturers got far more than they had paid for. The new algorithm made the more-expensive atypicals the preferred drug for doctors treating prisoners, students and poor patients covered by Medicaid. It set rules so stringent that if a doctor prescribed an older, cheaper drug instead of a newer one, they had to explain their decision in writing, making them vulnerable to malpractice lawsuits if the patient developed any problems. Influenced by the new algorithm, the state also reportedly treated the atypicals as the preferred drugs for certain mental illnesses in children, even though the FDA had not approved that use.

Texas is simply a toxin, a poison in our system. It’s corrupt as hell and because of its large population, it has a disproportionate affect on the rest of the country. Awful, yet this incident is, as they say, sadly typical.

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