Big Pharma Price Gouging, Peoples' Science, the Opioid Crisis, and Indigenous Leadership

Big Pharma Price Gouging, Peoples' Science, the Opioid Crisis, and Indigenous Leadership

[Image Description: A photo of orange pill bottles with white label and white caps piled on a brown circular dish. The background is solid white. ]

[Image Description: A photo of orange pill bottles with white label and white caps piled on a brown circular dish. The background is solid white. ]

Big Pharma’s price gouging captured mainstream attention when ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli’s epic greed went viral in 2016. Now serving a 7 year prison sentence for fraud related to his Ponzi-like scheming in two hedge funds he managed, at the time Shkreli was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Under his ‘leadership’, Turing raised the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill, a more than fifty fold increase for a life-saving medication that treats toxioplasmosis, a condition people living with HIV and weakened immunity are most prone.

Months after this made news and Shkreli’s shirked facing price gouging allegations before Congress by pleading the 5th, Mylan pharmaceutical hit the headlines for charging $608 for a package of 2 life-saving epi pens which cost only $2 to make. However, the public outcry which Shkreli unintentionally unleashed was re-mobilized and focused on Mylan. The company backed down & created a generic that costs $300, better, but still exorbitant.

When #45 took office in 2017, one of his pledges was to halt big pharma's profiteering, but not surprisingly this problem has continued to worsen and threaten lives. Even Fox News (see link below) has exposed the trump administration for failing to follow through.

2018 brought to national attention the shocking and wholly preventable rise in diabetes-related deaths because people with the disease are unable to afford their insulin medication, an opioid crisis, the cause of which can very convincingly be argued to rest on the metaphorical shoulders of big pharma and which disproportionally impacts POC, especially Native Americans , and Bayer's merger with Monsanto, a major world polluter whose herbicide glyphosate (Round-Up) is indisputably carcinogenic.

See the links below for more on diabetic ketosis, Native American responses to the opioid crisis, Monsanto, GlaxoSmithKline’s $300 million purchase of 23andMe’s genetic data for pharmaceutical research, and coverage of a Goldman Sachs report commissioned by biotech companies exploring ‘if curing patients is a sustainable business model’ – you can’t make this stuff up yet these examples reflect the most shocking contradictions of US healthcare and the Medical Industrial Complex in which it is entangled. This may seem like a lot of bad news, and it is a bitter pill to swallow. But, as we enter 2019, there’s some good news and big wins on the horizon:

In 2018, there was an upsurge in Peoples’ Science, such as the work of the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective, an anarchist network which develops DIY medical technologies and works to liberate life-saving pharmaceuticals from the massive corporations like epipens and insulin. (link below). After decades of global organizing, largely led by farmers in the global south and Indigenous leaders worldwide, Monsanto is finally getting its comeuppance. In 2018, the pesticide giant lost several law suits and is contributing to Bayer’s devaluation since the merger. Indigenous and working class people are also pushing back against big pharma to redress the harm & exploitation of the opioid crisis. More links below!

https://www.lakotalaw.org/news/2018-07-05/opioid-crisis?fbclid=IwAR2OZ7LCokMJKCuwnGT49K7eGWFR_0VcYzfevwlXsxckvtqTkx9ZGhIgsjs

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/10/637722786/jury-awards-terminally-ill-man-289-million-in-lawsuit-against-monsanto?fbclid=IwAR3iHbUSrFlsudx7B3uFZGroIiPfeUZ4WeRmefCR6oWxJflsVrjf7L_nQv0

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuits/bayers-monsanto-faces-8000-lawsuits-on-glyphosate-idUSKCN1L81J0?fbclid=IwAR1mcpBFVjzmDDmfE4gmST8cl_jqkVJTBPRHqyabaO6d_NDgkfVIyFR6EfA

http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/monsanto-merger-migraine-roundup-is-toxic-for-bayer-a-1247225.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/09/01/641615877/insulins-high-cost-leads-to-lethal-rationing?fbclid=IwAR3TS8Lux5zernCrN1CwCqfHerD7e5DmcB1SK8GmfKnXj2JMt-MSid1QCpo

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/43pngb/how-to-make-your-own-medicine-four-thieves-vinegar-collective?fbclid=IwAR1A8ZE4ChNRb_WMV3ibZQgkLfvG5m6YXnpWl1sMMvs-rkf_9S90J4kVFe4

https://www.lakotalaw.org/?fbclid=IwAR20GBVa--LFAlHCdA2zmtJIS7sh1nBqW9C59ueq4r7pWGlCiEW-QoDifYc

https://www.ecowatch.com/monsanto-india-cotton-patent-2566752905.html?fbclid=IwAR0SUJUfuA3JLn6RzMDxjUgjUBW1C5pXwvt-N5RtLlAHneO5T0UYkQK-O5U

https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/germany-13-other-countries-say-no-glyphosate-what-about-us?fbclid=IwAR0QhhOKMCMriJKiKMm5ugUMzsye2q7iMJ6ojelZZh1Bixu9arQNu1yykMc

https://intercontinentalcry.org/mayan-peoples-movement-defeats-monsanto-law-guatemala-25564/?fbclid=IwAR1J5yFGSw3-ptA2e3FLbZhCoCKKD-_l_5Vx4w9DwQeaPT4P2rwZ56U87HM

https://amarolawfirm.com/opioid-epidemic-native-american-communities/?fbclid=IwAR1wl8CoTq2WrJjEGV79G5SN-bADLhZ63a-_dl5kgsULWlnwO2hrd6OLv8o

https://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/2018/05/native_american_tribes_fight_t.html?fbclid=IwAR1wl8CoTq2WrJjEGV79G5SN-bADLhZ63a-_dl5kgsULWlnwO2hrd6OLv8o

https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/big-pharma-accused-of-price-gouging-life-saving-drugs?fbclid=IwAR3BwpkkPVFxyYqGmW4TqDE9QxR7me1-h5MMiMMcFm2ztyrlSvuEjphSJcw

https://prepforthat.com/23andme-signs-300-million-deal-with-glaxosmithkline/?fbclid=IwAR3BwpkkPVFxyYqGmW4TqDE9QxR7me1-h5MMiMMcFm2ztyrlSvuEjphSJcw

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2100395890224014

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/goldman-asks-is-curing-patients-a-sustainable-business-model.html?fbclid=IwAR25bouYYbOUHw-CH54UR4F6r8GfLZOjVeQkBij0d8ObchN9kh3yM282Y3M

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/43pngb/how-to-make-your-own-medicine-four-thieves-vinegar-collective?fbclid=IwAR0DlpX0_ezpCqzHNYqgmCOX65ZsReST-E0APvXNyQF7VEBOPtcqUQomsyw



Mordecai Cohen Ettinger