Friday, January 25, 2013

Shame on You: Episode 3,234,678 in a series

In his inaugural address, Barack Obama said the commitments we make to each other through Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security don’t make us a nation of takers. But the actions of Amgen and its cronies under the dome on Capitol Hill show who the real takers are — not those who look to government for support in old age and hard times but the ones at the top whose avarice and lust for profit compel them to take as much as they can from that government at the expense of everyone else.
from Big Pharma Buys Off the Senate by Bill Moyers 

You know my little story of Sophie's anticonvulsant -- the drug clobazam (known as Frisium outside the U.S. and Onfi inside) -- that costs $63 for a one-month supply if I buy it in Canada and nearly $1,000 if I buy it here in the United States ($500 with Sophie's private insurance policy)? It's such a small, small story if you compare it to the one I read about today, a story of cronyism and corruption and grievous ethics that makes your fingernails curl. In a nutshell, the enormous for-profit biotechnology firm Amgen (that, among others, manufactures a profitable drug for those on kidney dialysis) used its team of 74 lobbyists in Washington, D.C. to sneak in a huge loophole in the recent fiscal cliff deal that gives the company two more years of relief from Medicare cost controls for certain drugs for patients on kidney dialysis. Three senators, two Republicans and one Democrat, evidently "hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy" and all three -- surprise, surprise -- have "received hefty campaign donations from the company whose bottom line mysteriously just got padded at taxpayer expense."

You can read about the whole pile of sh**t, here.

Shame on Amgen.
Shame on Senators Mitch McConnell, Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch.
Shame on Big Pharm and its lobbyist henchmen.
Shame on all those who support this shit, whether you're a government employee, a consumer with shares in these companies, a lobbyist for Big Pharm, a drug manufacturer, an apologist for the grossest inequities in our country or someone who just doesn't want to admit that money rules.


  1. If only shame were enough to effect change. Thankfully, it is voices like yours and Bill Moyers' and others who believe in honesty and justice for the American people that will perhaps one day cause enough clamor to make a change.


    It's even infuriating to me, and I stay away from drugs as much as possible.

    Sending hugs. x0 N2

  3. It certainly helps us understand even more the opposition to Obamacare, doesn't it? If Amgen employs 70-plus lobbyists on their own, imagine how many lobbyists must represent all of Big Pharma -- and how much money those companies dole out to our lawmakers.

  4. My daughter takes Onfi too. I had no idea that it was so expensive. In NY we have a medicaid waiver for people with disabilities. This covers all medical expenses that insurance doesn't including all co-pays, and it's not based on parents income. Of course, I'd really rather try pot for my daughter because the meds don't work and they're so toxic. But it's not legal here. Have you tried it yet? I'm also curious if Sophie has ever had a seizure free period. After 12 years the addition of Onfi seems to be controlling the grand mal seizures for my daughter, but I'm skeptical that it will last.

  5. Read about Amgen in the NYT last Sunday. At least I think it was last Sunday. All I remember for sure is that one minute I was basking peacefully in the sunlight, sipping my coffee, reading the paper and the next I was swearing and pounding the table.

  6. It's disgusting and sociopathic and the names of those involved do not surprise me.

  7. Saw the interview on Moyers' show. I hope that that this can be overturned. We'll have to watch closely. This is political cronyism at it's worst. Amgem just got hit with the biggest criminal and civil crimes fine in the history of this sort of thing. And then they get their reward, at our expense. We'll have to wait and see if congress does the right thing. (Excuse me, I'm laughing so hard I'm crying)

  8. This makes me tired and sad. Hopefully it's fixed. I don't know much about senators pushing for repeal but it order to preserve what little hope & faith I have left, I will assume it's for the right reasons & not because... actually? Who cares why. Just fix it!



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