The Irish Health minister, Leo Varadkar, made some very damning comments about the pharmaceutical industry recently:
“…Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has condemned the “greed incorporated” in drug companies and said dealing with some of them brought out “whatever socialist instincts may be buried in me”.
His Dublin West constituency colleague and Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger had said ordinary people were held hostage by the “profiteering of these companies under our capitalist system. That is why I am a socialist and why I believe health should be a priority.”
She called on the Minister to negotiate a cut in the price of the new Orkambi drug for cystic fibrosis which the HSE estimates will cost €90 million a year. Ireland has the highest cystic fibrosis rate in the world .
Mr Varadkar agreed drug companies “overcharge and use patients as pawns” and in some countries hired PR companies to coach patients to advocate on their behalf. He said “these people also pay themselves massive salaries, draw down massive profits and pay massive dividends. They are people whose bonus every year is based on how much they can overcharge a small country.”
The Minister said they targeted small countries “and get the small country to set the high price and then offer bigger countries slight discounts”.
This, he said, “is a case of greed incorporated. While I am not a socialist, dealing with some of these companies would ring out whatever socialist instincts may be buried in me.”
It has been a busy week for Martin Shkreli, the flamboyant businessman at the center of the drug industry’s price-gouging scandals.
He said he would sharply increase the cost of a drug used to treat a potentially deadly parasitic infection. He called himself “the world’s most eligible bachelor” on Twitter and railed against critics in a live-streaming YouTube video. After reportedly paying $2 million for a rare Wu-Tang Clan album, he goaded a member of the hip-hop group to “show me some respect.”
Then, at 6 a.m. Thursday, F.B.I. agents arrested Mr. Shkreli, 32, at his Murray Hill apartment. He was arraigned in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on securities fraud and wire fraud charges.
Maybe one day the FBI will come for the Glaxo pharmafia crooks? (Garnier, Witty, Bob Ingram, Viehbacher… and the rest)