Who would expect this from the leader of a pro-business political party:
Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason. They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe & elsewhere. We will respond! – Donald Trump, 10:08 AM – 9 Jul 2018
It’s easy to agree that there are much cheaper drug prices in other countries. Trump didn’t mention that we now see medicine manufactured in China, as well as India – just to save a few pennies on a bottle of drugs that costs hundreds, or even thousands of dollars here.
Yet, the charge that drug firms take advantage of the weak and powerless would seem unfair, until we examine what appears to be callous behavior by drug execs.
The following tale of so-called success in reducing drug use among the elderly shows how drug firms can evade, avoid and continue to make billions from seniors’ prescriptions. Continue reading →
We use medicines made in China, marketed in U.S. If you import same drugs: $100k fine + year in jail!
A popular blood thinner now costs U.S. Medicare patients and insurers more than $5,000 a year. This drug, which has amassed sales of more than $10 billion, uses Rivaroxaban as the main ingredient – a compound available from 26 manufacturers in China.
When you check prices for Rivaroxaban for sale in the U.S., the cost of a 10, 15 or 20 mg tablet is virtually identical, so the product quantity is not an issue. Rivaroxaban tablets sold in America, by the way, are so small they are almost impossible to cut in half to make a 20 mg tablet into two tens. Wonder why?
Since the price of materials is obviously so low (two for the price of one), it would seem that where it is manufactured is not very important, but to pencil-poking plutocrats, a penny saved is a salivating savings event of graphite proportions.
But what is the danger from manufacturing our drugs in China?
The two thick envelopes arrive monthly for the wife and me, each 12 pages of lists of what drugs we bought that month, how much we paid, plus the amount Humana insurance contributed. If you just file this document, and don’t check the numbers, it may cost you a load of money.
I learned this when I reviewed my January 1 to 31 Humana recap for 2018, and found that the total for prescriptions in the year was about twice the total for the month. One month in the year expense should always equal the year-to-date total.
This same error appeared three times in my statement, and the higher annual total would take me into the Medicare prescription donut hole faster by nearly $400. The hole is where you pay 35% of the list price of drugs, rather than lower co-pays.
I decided to call Humana the Saturday I discovered this anomaly, and that’s when everything started going downhill.
A robot answers. It asks me for my date of birth, and the machine keeps telling me to repeat, because it doesn’t understand. I try using a Bombay accent, but still no luck. Finally, I get to a stage where I can enter birth date on phone number pad, and then I learn the bad news.
There is no phone customer service on Saturday or Sunday, only weekdays.
Can’t Humana afford someone to answer the phone on weekends? The company managed $4,100,000,000 in operating cash flow last year, including an expense of $148,000,000 for “charges associated with voluntary and involuntary workforce reduction programs.” Continue reading →
Illegal drug dealers, who are designated as major suppliers, will face the electric chair or gas chamber if President Donald Trump has his way. Our sometimes alert members of Congress voice agreement, now suddenly aware that criminals who sell opioids, like heroin and oxycodone, deserve more than slap-on-wrist fines or jail time.
Don’t bet on the death penalty just yet for these creatures. With decades of litigation possible, it’s easier to prescribe life in prison.
And speaking of prescribing, when are we going to deal with the legal drug dealers, whose companies have priced life-saving medicine in the stratosphere, so that only the very rich, or those with golden health plans, are able to afford?
An illegal drug dealer who hooks 200 victims deserves their fate.
A legal drug dealer who ruins the lives of millions deserves no less a prison term.
Which brings me to the example of Hepatitis C and the story of Marsha Lecour, who contracted the condition when she was four, after open heart surgery that exposed her to contaminated blood. Lecour is a native of Canada, the only nation, other than the U.S., which doesn’t have government-provided prescription drugs, where there is national healthcare for everything else. Continue reading →
Rich or poor, religious or not, every leader of every Southern state in 1860 opposed tariffs and embraced slavery. In the North, where there was no slavery, everyone favored tariffs to protect both American industry and wage earners from unfair foreign competition.
Today, Paul Ryan, Cato Institute or Heritage Foundation invariably promote cutting Social Security, Medicare, Minimum Wage, in fact they despise anything that helps the middle class. On the other side, CNN, Paul Krugman, WAPO and the New York Times say they oppose cuts to these necessary programs.
So, what’s happening here. Why are the leaders of the far left and far right joined together to fight against America seeking fair trade through fair tariffs? Continue reading →
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s new tax law will save less than $9 a week for most working Americans, and many may receive cuts as little as $2.70. Meanwhile, a $1 million filer will gain $628 a week. The GOP plan smells like a few peanuts for the middle class and the elephant’s share of the tax cut designated for the very rich.
Current law now taxes a married couple for every dollar earned that exceeds $24,000 a year. Last year’s tax floor was $20,800, or a difference of $3,200.
Anyone earning exactly $24,000 in 2018 will save income tax of 10% of that $3,200, or $6.15 a week, versus last year.
What do you do with this $6.15 tax cut? If you are taking Xarelto for heart problems, as millions do, your tax bonanza won’t cover that drug’s $80 a month increase, or offset higher gas prices, or, or…
But what would have happened if candidate Donald Trump’s original tax plan had been adopted? Continue reading →
Happy holidays came a few days early for big corporations and rich shareholders. Their income tax rate in 2018 will drop from 35% to 21% – exactly a 40% decrease.
Next year, Medicare premiums will go from $109 to $134 per month – a 23% increase in one year. This additional deduction from Social Security benefits wipes out the proposed minimal 2% cost of living increase for most seniors, leaving them with no increase, just inflation losses.
The argument goes that most corporations deserve a tax decrease, because they pay higher income taxes (35%) here than in some other countries. Concerned about the tax burden on our “job creators”, I put together this list of the top 30 largest companies (sales) and what they paid in income tax in 2016.
All told, these firms paid $114.9 billion of income tax on $4,108 billion in sales, or 2.76% rate on sales. Continue reading →