Hospitals to Cut Out Irresponsible Pharmaceutical Companies

By Theodore Mattheiss

Opinion Editor

Hospitals are taking a stand against the outrageous price gouging and shortages in supply that have become trademarks of many pharmaceutical companies.

On Sept. 6, several major hospital groups founded their own generic drug company called Civica Rx, with the goal of circumventing these unreliable companies. It’s based in the Salt Lake City area.

Shortages of generic, inexpensive medication have been a persistent problem, plaguing hospitals for more than a decade. The shortages  are caused by pharmaceutical companies halting their production of medicines that only generate a small amount of profit, or running into manufacturing problems.

The result of these shortages is that hospitals sometimes find themselves lacking essential medication for pain, infections, or heart conditions, at times when patients need them.

Board Chairman of Civica Rx, Dan Liljenquist, said “the mission of Civica is to make sure these drugs remain in the public domain, that they’re available and affordable to everyone,” in an interview with the New York Times.

The goal of Civica Rx is to have its own products on the market, and competing with those offered by established companies, by mid 2019. The company will begin by offering 14 widely-used hospital drugs that have been subject to supply problems for years.

An attack on the heartless pharmaceutical companies in charge of medicating the world is long overdue.

The CEOs of these companies have put their own profit margins above the lives of U.S. citizens on multiple occassions.

Take, for example, the 2015 controversy that surrounded Martin Shkreli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. He attracted national attention after hiking the price of daraprim, a drug used to treat AIDS-related toxoplasmosis, by more than 5,000 percent.

His decision to dramatically increase the price was driven by the fact that daraprim is a drug that people depend on for surviving with their condition, and he knew that those who could afford to continue buying the medicine would buy, no matter what. He simply didn’t care about the people who wouldn’t be able to afford it.

In 2016, Heather Bresch, the CEO of the titanic pharmaceutical company Mylan, came under fire for increasing the price of the EpiPen, a quintessential life-saving device for those with severe allergies.

Bresch was called before Congress to explain why the price of the device had skyrocketed from just over $100 in 2009 to more than $600 in 2016.

She explained that the price increase was due to initiatives taken by the company to make the drug more accessible, but critics maintained that the profits only went to execs.

These companies are in dire need of something to keep their prices in check, and in a free market, nothing will provide that moderating force like competition. If the established pharmaceutical companies want to compete with Civica Rx, and future companies that share the same goal, they will need to leave their shameless price gouging in the past.

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