Drug Company Rip Off Amidst the Suffering and Dying

Human Need

The big drug rip-off is coming. Gilead’s drug remdesivir is being hailed as the “new standard of care. “ (Dr. Anthony Fauci ). The honchos at the drug company are agog with excitement. To throw sick Americans a lifeline? Not exactly. To introduce a billion-dollar blockbuster? More likely. Predictably, President’s Trumps scientific advisory committee is all in. Isn’t that what friends are for? First developed to treat Ebola, remdesivir flopped. But not to worry, the feds had contributed $79 million to R&D on the drug, so investors were spared most of the pain. As the coronavirus pandemic surged worldwide, Gilead bet on the same horse, hauling remdesivir out of the closet — new disease, same drug. It flopped again — “remdesivir did not improve patients’ condition or reduce the pathogen’s presence in the bloodstream…The drug also showed significant side effects in some, which meant 18 patients were taken off it. (“Gilead’s anti-viral drug, remdesivir, flops in first trial,” Financial Times, April 23, 2020.) At least, transparency prevailed and consumers around the world were among the first to know. Not exactly. These results were accidentally released by the World Health Organization, which quickly tried to put the genie back in the bottle — “…a draft document [of the failed study was] inadvertently posted on the website and taken down as soon as the mistake was noted.” There you have it — a history of repeated failures that should have diminished expectations among U.S. infectious disease experts. Why didn’t it? Read “Drug Company Rip Off Amidst the Suffering and Dying” for even more evidence that profit trumps care in the U.S. privatized health care system.

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