Monthly Archives

February 2019

Protect Our Care Releases New Report Detailing the Threats Republican Policies Pose to Rural Health Care in Michigan

Legislation Cosponsored by Senator Gary Peters Would Help Expand Coverage and Benefit Rural Communities, Addressing the Unique Problems Outlined in New Report

Washington, DC — A day after Senator Gary Peters joined a group of senators to introduce the SAME Act, a bill that would benefit rural communities by providing each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds regardless of when it chooses to expand the program, Protect Our Care released a new report, “A Tough Row to Hoe: How Republican Policies are Leaving Michigan’s Rural Health Care in the Dust.” The report looks at how Republican sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and relentless attacks on Medicaid expansion have done damage to rural residents of the state, who face both a lack of coverage and a lack of care in their communities.  


Read the report here.

“Our report shows how President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have stopped at nothing to wreak havoc on our health care, resulting in especially devastating impacts in rural America,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director at Protect Our Care. “Premiums have risen, coverage has been lost, and rural hospitals face constant uncertainty as rural health care is threatened. Medicaid expansion has been particularly crucial to expanding access to health care in rural communities and Senator Peters’ leadership on the SAME Act is a major step towards encouraging more states to expand Medicaid and ensuring rural Americans will have access to the health care coverage they so desperately need.”

By The Numbers: Rural Health In Michigan


11 percent of Michiganders living in rural areas are uninsured, compared to 9 percent of Michiganders living in nonrural areas.

Since the Affordable Care Act, the adult uninsured rate has fallen by 11 percent in rural parts of Michigan.

25 percent of Michiganders living in rural areas have health coverage through Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act led to a $571 million reduction in Michigan uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, Michigan hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $571 million, or roughly 45 percent.

634,300 Michiganders became newly eligible for coverage when Michigan expanded Medicaid.

18 rural hospitals in Michigan are at a high financial risk of closing. This represents roughly 25.4 percent of the state’s rural hospitals.

In Michigan, where lawmakers expanded Medicaid, one rural hospital has closed since 2010. The one hospital that did close did so two years before the state expanded Medicaid:

Cheboygan Memorial Hospital (MI-01, closed in 2012)

Protect Our Care Releases New Report Detailing the Threats Republican Policies Pose to Rural Health Care in Virginia

Senator Mark Warner’s SAME Act Would Help Expand Coverage and Benefit Rural Communities, Addressing the Unique Problems Outlined in New Report

Washington, DC — A day after Senator Warner introduced the SAME Act, a bill that would benefit rural communities by providing each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds regardless of when it chooses to expand the program, Protect Our Care released a new report, “A Tough Row to Hoe: How Republican Policies are Leaving Virginia’s Rural Health Care in the Dust.” The report looks at how Republican sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and relentless attacks on Medicaid expansion have done damage to rural residents of the state, who face both a lack of coverage and a lack of care in their communities.  


Read the report here.

“Our report shows how President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have stopped at nothing to wreak havoc on our health care, resulting in especially devastating impacts in rural America,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director at Protect Our Care. “Premiums have risen, coverage has been lost, and rural hospitals face constant uncertainty as rural health care is threatened. Medicaid expansion has been particularly crucial to expanding access to health care in rural communities and Senator Warner’s leadership on the SAME Act is a major step towards encouraging more states to expand Medicaid and ensuring rural Americans will have access to the health care coverage they so desperately need.”

By The Numbers: Rural Health In Virginia


19 percent of Virginians living in rural areas are uninsured, compared to 12 percent of Virginians living in nonrural areas.

Since the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate has fallen by 6 percent in rural parts of Virginia.

17 percent of Virginia living in rural areas have health coverage through Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act led to a $78 million reduction in Virginia uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, Virginia hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $78 million, or roughly 26 percent.

Since expanding Medicaid last fall, almost 200,000 Virginians have signed up for coverage. Since enrollment for Medicaid expansion began in November, nearly 200,000 Virginians have signed up for care. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Urban Institute estimate that that number will continue to increase overtime, ultimately resulting in more than 400,000 people gaining coverage. Virginia’s decision to expand Medicaid is expected to reduce the uninsured rate by 3.3 points — from 14.2 percent to 10.9 percent.

In Virginia, where lawmakers refused to expand Medicaid until last year, two rural hospitals have closed since 2010. These hospitals include:
Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick County (VA-09, closed in 2017)
Lee Regional Medical Center (VA-09, closed in 2013)

Protect Our Care Releases New Report Detailing the Threats Republican Policies Pose to Rural Health Care in Alabama

Senator Doug Jones’ SAME Act Would Help Expand Coverage and Benefit Rural Communities, Addressing the Unique Problems Outlined in New Report

Washington, DC — A day after Senator Doug Jones introduced the SAME Act, a bill that would benefit rural communities by providing each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds regardless of when it chooses to expand the program, Protect Our Care released a new report, “A Tough Row to Hoe: How Republican Policies are Leaving Alabama’s Rural Health Care in the Dust.” The report looks at how Republican sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and relentless attacks on Medicaid expansion have done damage to rural residents of the state, who face both a lack of coverage and a lack of care in their communities.  

Read the report here.

“Our report shows how President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have stopped at nothing to wreak havoc on our health care, resulting in especially devastating impacts in rural America,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director at Protect Our Care. “Premiums have risen, coverage has been lost, and rural hospitals face constant uncertainty as rural health care is threatened. Medicaid expansion has been particularly crucial to expanding access to health care in rural communities and Senator Jones’ leadership on the SAME Act is a major step towards encouraging more states to expand Medicaid and ensuring rural Americans will have access to the health care coverage they so desperately need.”

By The Numbers: Rural Health In Alabama


19 percent of Alabamians living in rural areas are uninsured, compared to 16 percent of Alabamians living in nonrural areas.

Since the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate has fallen by 9 percent in rural parts of Alabama.

24 percent of Alabamians living in rural areas have health coverage through Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act led to a $112 million reduction in Alabama uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, Alabama hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $112 million, or roughly 18 percent.

314,000 Alabamians could gain coverage if the state were to expand Medicaid. By failing to do so, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Urban Institute estimate that 314,000 Alabamians are being denied coverage through the program. If Alabama were to expand Medicaid, it is estimated that the uninsured rate would drop from 17.5 percent to 12.5 percent.

21 rural hospitals in Alabama are at a high financial risk of closing. This represents roughly 50 percent of the state’s rural hospitals.

In Alabama, where lawmakers refused to expand Medicaid, five rural hospitals have closed since 2010, with a sixth expected to close in March.

These hospitals include:
Georgiana Medical Center (AL-02, will close in March 2019)
Florala Memorial Hospital (AL-02, closed in 2013)
Elba General Hospital (AL-02, closed in 2013)
Chilton Medical Center (AL-06, closed in 2012)
SouthWest Alabama Medical Center (AL-07, closed in 2011)
Randolph Medical Center (AL-03, closed in 2011)

Protect Our Care Praises Effort Led by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Doug Jones (D-AL) to Support Medicaid Expansion

The SAME Act Will Lead to Expansion of Coverage and Benefit Rural Communities

Washington, DC–Today, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Doug Jones (D-AL), among others, introduced the States Achieve Medicaid Expansion (SAME) Act, which would provide each state expanding its Medicaid program with the same levels of Federal matching funds, regardless of when it chooses to expand the program. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, praised the legislation in a statement:

“Medicaid expansion has been one of the most successful facets of the Affordable Care Act, providing millions of Americans with the health care coverage they so desperately need. Medicaid expansion has been particularly crucial to expanding access to health care in rural communities and has helped rural hospitals keep their doors open. The SAME Act will not only give all states that enacted Medicaid expansion the same funding benefits, it will incentivize more states to follow suit. Under the leadership of Senators Mark Warner and Doug Jones, the SAME Act is a major step toward ensuring better access to care, lowering costs, and keeping rural hospitals open.”

BACKGROUND:

Medicaid Expansion Is A Lifeline To Rural Communities. The Affordable Care Act opened the doors to Medicaid expansion, which has significantly expanded access to health care in rural communities, reduced rural hospitals’ uncompensated care costs, and helped rural health providers keep their doors open by allowing states to expand Medicaid coverage for adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. Medicaid expansion allowed 1.7 million rural Americans to gain coverage who had not previously been eligible.

Following Medicaid Expansion, The Uninsured Rate In Rural Parts Of Expansion States Decreased By A Median Of 44 Percent. In rural states that expanded Medicaid, the uninsured rates dropped significantly after the ACA became law:

  • In Montana, the uninsured rate dropped from 19 to 8.5 percent between 2013 and 2016.
  • In Kentucky, the uninsured rate dropped from 16.3 to 7.2 percent between 2013 and 2016.
  • In Arkansas, the uninsured rate dropped from 17.8 to 9.1 percent between 2013 and 2016.
  • In West Virginia, the uninsured rate dropped from 14.2 to 8.8 percent between 2013 and 2016.

By Reducing Uncompensated Care Costs, Medicaid Expansion Means Hospitals Have Greater Financial Security. Medicaid expansion also drastically reduced the amount of costs that a hospital absorbs for any treatment or service not paid for by an insurer or patient, known as uncompensated care.. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that “states that expanded Medicaid to low-income adults under the ACA saw both larger coverage gains and larger drops in uncompensated care: a 47 percent decrease in uncompensated care costs on average compared to an 11 percent decrease in states that did not expand Medicaid.” CBPP concludes that these declines in uncompensated care were “almost certainly” the result of the ACA’s coverage gains.

A June 2018 Protect Our Care Analysis Found That The Vast Majority Of Rural Hospital Closures Since 2010 Were In States That Had Refused To Expand Medicaid. Between 2010 and June 2018, 84 rural hospitals closed. The vast majority of those rural hospital closures, 77 percent, occurred in states that refused to expand Medicaid. Nearly 90 percent of the rural hospitals that have closed since 2010 were located in states that refused to expand Medicaid by the time of their closure. Only 10 out of 84 rural hospitals closed in states after they had expanded Medicaid; of hospital closures in states that expanded Medicaid, nine closed before the state expanded the program. Since Protect Our Care’s June report, even more hospitals have closed. The Scheps Center Rural Health Research Program tracks that 97 rural hospitals have closed since 2010.

Protect Our Care and Sen. Sherrod Brown Oppose Trump Judicial Nominees Working to Strip Health Care from Americans

Washington, DC–Today, Protect Our Care partnered with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio on a press call to highlight why Chad Readler and Eric Murphy ’s nominations to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals would be disastrous for not only Ohioans, but all Americans’ health care. Readler attacked the Affordable Care Act by signing a legal brief refusing to defend the law at the Department of Justice in support of the Texas lawsuit, which would strip millions of their coverage and deny pre-existing condition protections enshrined in the ACA.

“No American should be denied health care because of a pre-existing condition, or because they’re a woman, or because they cannot afford it,” Senator Brown said. “I cannot support nominees who have actively worked to strip Ohioans of their health care rights. Special interests already have armies of lobbyists and lawyers on their side, they don’t need judges in their pockets.”

“Chad Readler wants to go back to the days where insurance companies could deny, drop or charge more for coverage and end protections for millions of people with pre-existing conditions,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “Simply put, a vote for Chad Readler is a vote for full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Readler tried to sabotage the ACA from within the administration, and if we put him on the court, he will be able to sabotage your care from the bench.The Senate must protect the American people’s health care by denying Chad Readler a lifetime appointment.”

Full press call audio here

Background on Chad Readler:

Readler filed the Trump administration’s brief in Texas V. United States, and his nomination for a judicial seat was announced the same day he filed the brief calling for the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions to be overturned.

If the Texas ruling is not overturned:

  • 4.8 million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions could lose their coverage
  • Ohioans over age 50 could face a $3,329 age tax
  • 151,026 Ohioans would lose tax credits and have to pay more for coverage in the marketplace
  • 214,338 Ohio seniors would have to pay more for their prescription drugs
  • 717,100 Ohioans could lose their health care due to possible repeal of Medicaid expansion

Defiant Drug Company CEOs Offer Up the Same Old Excuses and No Answers for Their Massive Price Hikes

Washington, DC — Today, the CEOs and top executives from seven of the largest drug companies testified before the Senate Finance Committee. The big drug companies have seen billions in profits while Americans have seen the costs of their medications soar. They reaped billions of dollars from the Trump tax scam bill and used it for stock buybacks, enriching their already wealthy investors and CEOs. Headline after headline demonstrates that drug companies are jacking up the prices of vital medications, proving that their commitment to freeze drug prices last year was all political posturing.

Merck’s Ken Frazier admitted as much in the hearing stating, “We have lowered list prices in the past and found it creates a financial disadvantage for the company and it doesn’t get us more volume because of the incentives in the system.”

“The American people deserve answers from these CEOs but instead today they got the same old excuses,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “It’s crystal clear that these drug companies won’t follow through on their rhetoric about making prescription drugs more affordable for the American people because it would cut into their record profits.  Senator Menendez said today that if drug companies don’t take meaningful action on their own to reduce prices then policy makers will do it for them. After today’s pathetic display by drug company executives the time for policy makers to act has clearly arrived.”

Background:

Watch Senator Menendez question CEOs on the Trump tax scam here.

Big Drug Companies Raked in Billions of Profits Last Year and Paid Their CEOs Millions…

Pharmaceutical Company2018 Profit ($ Billion)Stock Buybacks Since the 2017 GOP Tax Cut[1]CEOCEO Pay[2]Ratio of CEO Compensation to Median Employee Salary[3]
Pfizer$11.1[4]$10 billionAlbert Bourla$27.9 million313:1
Merck$6.22[5]$10 billionKen Frazier$17.6 million215:1
Johnson & Johnson$15.3[6]$5 billionAlex Gorsky$29.8 million452:1
Sanofi$4.9[7]Oliver Brandicourt$11.1 million[8]
Bristol-Meyers$4.9[9]$5 billion[10]Giovanni Caforio$18.7 million169:1
AbbVie$5.7[11]$15 billionRick Gonzalez$22.6 million144:1
AstraZeneca$2.2[12]Pascal Soriot$12.3 million[13]

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot Complained That Despite His $12 Million Salary He Was “The Lowest Paid CEO In The Whole Industry” Which Was “Annoying To Some Extent.” “Soriot, who heads AstraZeneca, has a penchant for going off message — and making headlines when he does…he groused to a reporter at London’s The Times earlier this year that despite his $12 million salary he was ‘the lowest-paid CEO in the whole industry,’ which he added was ‘annoying to some extent.’” [Stat, 2/21/19]

…All While Raising Prices on 1,000 Drugs for YOU

Nearly 30 Pharmaceutical Companies Are Raising Prices on Consumers This Year Alone.Pharmaceutical companies continue to increase prices. In January 2019 alone, drugmakers raised prices on nearly 490 prescription drugs. Johnson & Johnson raised prices on around two dozen drugs, and Pfizer and Novartis announced price increases on dozens of drugs, including increasing the cost of a breast cancer medication to $12,000 for 21 pills. All in all, nearly 30 drugmakers are expected to raise prices in 2019. 

CBS News: “Big Pharma ushers in new year by raising prices of more than 1,000 drugs” [CBS News, 1/2/19]

Reuters: “Big Pharma returning to U.S. price hikes in January after pause” [Reuters, 12/20/18]

Nostrum CEO Mulye: “I Think It Is A Moral Requirement to Make Money When You Can .. To Sell The Product For The Highest Price.” “Last month, Nostrum Laboratories, a small Missouri-based drugmaker, more than quadrupled the price of a bottle of nitrofurantoin from $474.75 to $2,392, according to Elsevier’s Gold Standard drug database. Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic used to treat bladder infections…In an interview, Nirmal Mulye, Nostrum chief executive, said he had priced the product according to market dynamics, adding: “I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can . . . to sell the product for the highest price.” [Financial Times, 9/11/18]

Mylan Chairman Coury Responds to Critics After Mylan Charged More Than $600 per Box of the EpiPen When It Only Contained $1 Worth of Ephinephrine: They Ought to Go Copulate with Themselves. “In meetings, the executives began warning Mylan’s top leaders that the price increases seemed like unethical profiteering at the expense of sick children and adults, according to people who participated in the conversations…At one gathering, executives shared their concerns with Mylan’s chairman, Robert Coury. Mr. Coury replied that he was untroubled. He raised both his middle fingers and explained, using colorful language, that anyone criticizing Mylan, including its employees, ought to go copulate with themselves.” [New York Times, 6/4/17]

In 2017, the FDA approved Marathon Pharmaceuticals’ request to charge $89,000 for a drug, a 6,000% price increase. “A drug company has brought a drug that has been available as a generic elsewhere in the world for decades at a shockingly inflated price…Yet a pharmaceutical company in Deerfield, Ill., has gotten approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell deflazacort (snazzy brand name: Emflaza). The company, Marathon Pharmaceuticals, is charging a list price of $89,000 – a 6,000% price increase.” [Forbes, 2/10/17]

In 2015, Martin Shkreli hiked the price of a life saving drug by 5,000% overnight, from $13.50 a pill to $750, when it reportedly only cost $1 to make. “Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and entrepreneur, earned his unflattering nickname by raising the cost of the drug from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill. After a Bloomberg reporter suggested it cost around $1 to make, Shkreli acknowledged the drug cost ‘very little money’ to make.” [HuffPost, 3/9/18]

Meanwhile, Drug Companies Reaped Billions from The GOP Tax Cut

Pharmaceutical Companies Have Reaped Billions Of Dollars From The Trump Tax Bill. The Trump tax scam means billions of dollars in tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies. An Axios study found that 21 health care companies collectively expect to gain $10 billion in tax savings during 2018 alone. [Axios, 3/5/18]

Since 2017, Pharmaceutical Companies Have Announced $73 Billion in Share Buybacks.“Collectively, drug companies have announced nearly $73 billion in share buybacks since the tax law passed in December 2017, according to Americans for Tax Fairness. Stock buybacks mostly enrich the already wealthy, including CEOs: the wealthiest 10% of American households own 84% of all corporate shares, the top 1% own 40%. About one-half of households own no stock.” [Americans for Tax Fairness, 1/8/19]

Don’t Be Fooled: Big Drug Companies Promises to Lower Costs are “Nothing-Burger Steps”

Pharmaceutical Company Lobbyist On So-Called Concessions to the Trump Administration: They Are a “Calculated Risk” And “Nothing-Burger Steps.” “The gestures turned out to be largely symbolic — efforts to beat Trump at his own game by giving him headlines he wants without making substantive changes in how they do business. The token concessions are ‘a calculated risk,” said one drug lobbyist. ‘Take these nothing-burger steps and give the administration things they can take credit for.’” [Politico, 8/3/18]

Trump’s Proposals Always Fall Far Short Of His Promises. President Trump promised that he would allow Medicare to use its buying power to negotiate drug prices directly with suppliers, but after meeting with pharmaceutical executives early in 2017, Trump abandoned that pledge, calling it “price fixing” that would hurt “smaller, younger companies.” The planned announcement to move some drugs from Medicare Part B, in which pharmaceuticals are purchased and administered by medical providers, to Part D, will do little to restrain the cost of prescription drugs for America’s seniors and falls far short of Trump’s promises.

[1] Americans For Tax Fairness, 1/8/19

[2] Data for FY2017, Bloomberg, 2/22/19

[3] Data for FY2017, Bloomberg, 2/22/19

[4] Pfizer Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2018  Results,” Pfizer, 1/29/19

[5] SFGate, 2/5/19

[6] 2018 Fourth Quarter Results, Johnson & Johnson, 1/22/19

[7] Converted from 4.3 billion euro; The Pharma Letter, 2/7/19

[8] Converted from 9.8 million euro for FY2017; Bloomberg, Accessed 2/22/19

[9]  Fourth Quarter And Full Year Financial Results, Bristol-Myers Squibb, 1/24/19

[10] “Bristol-Myers Squibb expects to execute an accelerated share repurchase program of up to approximately $5 billion, subject to the closing of the transaction, market conditions and Board approval,” Bristol-Myers Squibb, 1/3/19

[11]Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2018 Results, Abbvie, 1/25/19

[12] Market Screener, Accessed 2/22/19

[13] Converted from 9.4 million GBP for FY2017; Bloomberg, Accessed 2/22/19


Sen. Brown & Protect Our Care To Call For Opposition To Trump Nominees Who Worked To Strip Ohioans Of Health Care Rights

Trump Nominees Chad Readler and Eric Murphy will get Floor Vote in Coming Weeks

Readler Supported Efforts to Allow Insurance Companies to Deny Coverage for People with Pre-Existing Conditions; Murphy has Worked to Restrict Women’s Access to Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tomorrow, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and health advocates from Protect Our Care will host a news conference call where they will call on members of the Senate to oppose the nominations of Chad Readler and Eric Murphy to serve on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both Readler and Murphy have proven too extreme for Ohio, with combined records of working to roll back health care protections and strip Ohioans’ of their rights. Readler has taken a leading role in the Trump Administration’s efforts to undermine the ACA, filing an anti-ACA Justice Department brief in the multi-state lawsuit that recently resulted in one federal court’s ruling that the entire ACA should be struck down. Brown opposed both nominees when they were first announced by President Trump last year and continues to oppose their nominations today.

WHO:  

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Brad Woodhouse, Executive Director for Protect Our Care
Health care advocates, Susan Hyde and Maya Zimmerman Brown

WHAT:    

News Conference Call Urging Senate Opposition to two Trump nominees, Chad Readler and Eric Murphy

WHEN:

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

RSVP:

Email [email protected] to RSVP and receive call-in information


Big Drug Companies: Billions in Profits for THEM, Price Hikes for YOU

Meanwhile, the Administration Talks Big and Does Nothing to Reduce Prices

As CEOs and top executives from seven of the largest drug companies are set to testify before the Senate Finance Committee, the American people deserve answers. The big drug companies have seen billions in profits while Americans have seen the costs of their medications soar. They reaped billions of dollars from the Trump tax scam bill and used it for stock buybacks, enriching their already wealthy investors and CEOs. Headline after headline demonstrates that drug companies are jacking up the prices of vital medications, proving that their commitment to freeze drug prices last year was all political posturing. It’s time for Congress to hold these CEOs accountable.

Big Drug Companies Raked in Billions of Profits Last Year and Paid Their CEOs Millions…

Pharmaceutical Company 2018 Profit ($ Billion) Stock Buybacks Since the 2017 GOP Tax Cut[1] CEO CEO Pay[2] Ratio of CEO Compensation to Median Employee Salary[3]
Pfizer $11.1[4] $10 billion Albert Bourla $27.9 million 313:1
Merck $6.22[5] $10 billion Ken Frazier $17.6 million 215:1
Johnson & Johnson $15.3[6] $5 billion Alex Gorsky $29.8 million 452:1
Sanofi $4.9[7] Oliver Brandicourt $11.1 million[8]
Bristol-Meyers $4.9[9] $5 billion[10] Giovanni Caforio $18.7 million 169:1
AbbVie $5.7[11] $15 billion Rick Gonzalez $22.6 million 144:1
AstraZeneca $2.2[12] Pascal Soriot $12.3 million[13]

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot Complained That Despite His $12 Million Salary He Was “The Lowest Paid CEO In The Whole Industry” Which Was “Annoying To Some Extent.” “Soriot, who heads AstraZeneca, has a penchant for going off message — and making headlines when he does…he groused to a reporter at London’s The Times earlier this year that despite his $12 million salary he was ‘the lowest-paid CEO in the whole industry,’ which he added was ‘annoying to some extent.’” [Stat, 2/21/19]

…All While Raising Prices on 1,000 Drugs for YOU

Nearly 30 Pharmaceutical Companies Are Raising Prices on Consumers This Year Alone. Pharmaceutical companies continue to increase prices. In January 2019 alone, drugmakers raised prices on nearly 490 prescription drugs. Johnson & Johnson raised prices on around two dozen drugs, and Pfizer and Novartis announced price increases on dozens of drugs, including increasing the cost of a breast cancer medication to $12,000 for 21 pills. All in all, nearly 30 drugmakers are expected to raise prices in 2019. 

CBS News: “Big Pharma ushers in new year by raising prices of more than 1,000 drugs” [CBS News, 1/2/19]

Reuters: “Big Pharma returning to U.S. price hikes in January after pause” [Reuters, 12/20/18]

Nostrum CEO Mulye: “I Think It Is A Moral Requirement to Make Money When You Can .. To Sell The Product For The Highest Price.” “Last month, Nostrum Laboratories, a small Missouri-based drugmaker, more than quadrupled the price of a bottle of nitrofurantoin from $474.75 to $2,392, according to Elsevier’s Gold Standard drug database. Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic used to treat bladder infections…In an interview, Nirmal Mulye, Nostrum chief executive, said he had priced the product according to market dynamics, adding: “I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can . . . to sell the product for the highest price.” [Financial Times, 9/11/18]

Mylan Chairman Coury Responds to Critics After Mylan Charged More Than $600 per Box of the EpiPen When It Only Contained $1 Worth of Ephinephrine: They Ought to Go Copulate with Themselves. “In meetings, the executives began warning Mylan’s top leaders that the price increases seemed like unethical profiteering at the expense of sick children and adults, according to people who participated in the conversations…At one gathering, executives shared their concerns with Mylan’s chairman, Robert Coury. Mr. Coury replied that he was untroubled. He raised both his middle fingers and explained, using colorful language, that anyone criticizing Mylan, including its employees, ought to go copulate with themselves.” [New York Times, 6/4/17]

In 2017, the FDA approved Marathon Pharmaceuticals’ request to charge $89,000 for a drug, a 6,000% price increase. “A drug company has brought a drug that has been available as a generic elsewhere in the world for decades at a shockingly inflated price…Yet a pharmaceutical company in Deerfield, Ill., has gotten approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell deflazacort (snazzy brand name: Emflaza). The company, Marathon Pharmaceuticals, is charging a list price of $89,000 – a 6,000% price increase.” [Forbes, 2/10/17]

In 2015, Martin Shkreli hiked the price of a life saving drug by 5,000% overnight, from $13.50 a pill to $750, when it reportedly only cost $1 to make. “Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and entrepreneur, earned his unflattering nickname by raising the cost of the drug from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill. After a Bloomberg reporter suggested it cost around $1 to make, Shkreli acknowledged the drug cost ‘very little money’ to make.” [HuffPost, 3/9/18]

Meanwhile, Drug Companies Reaped Billions from The GOP Tax Cut

Pharmaceutical Companies Have Reaped Billions Of Dollars From The Trump Tax Bill. The Trump tax scam means billions of dollars in tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies. An Axios study found that 21 health care companies collectively expect to gain $10 billion in tax savings during 2018 alone. [Axios, 3/5/18]

Since 2017, Pharmaceutical Companies Have Announced $73 Billion in Share Buybacks. “Collectively, drug companies have announced nearly $73 billion in share buybacks since the tax law passed in December 2017, according to Americans for Tax Fairness. Stock buybacks mostly enrich the already wealthy, including CEOs: the wealthiest 10% of American households own 84% of all corporate shares, the top 1% own 40%. About one-half of households own no stock.” [Americans for Tax Fairness, 1/8/19]

Don’t Be Fooled: Big Drug Companies Promises to Lower Costs are “Nothing-Burger Steps”

Pharmaceutical Company Lobbyist On So-Called Concessions to the Trump Administration: They Are a “Calculated Risk” And “Nothing-Burger Steps.” “The gestures turned out to be largely symbolic — efforts to beat Trump at his own game by giving him headlines he wants without making substantive changes in how they do business. The token concessions are ‘a calculated risk,” said one drug lobbyist. ‘Take these nothing-burger steps and give the administration things they can take credit for.’” [Politico, 8/3/18]

Trump’s Proposals Always Fall Far Short Of His Promises. President Trump promised that he would allow Medicare to use its buying power to negotiate drug prices directly with suppliers, but after meeting with pharmaceutical executives early in 2017, Trump abandoned that pledge, calling it “price fixing” that would hurt “smaller, younger companies.” The planned announcement to move some drugs from Medicare Part B, in which pharmaceuticals are purchased and administered by medical providers, to Part D, will do little to restrain the cost of prescription drugs for America’s seniors and falls far short of Trump’s promises.



[1] Americans For Tax Fairness, 1/8/19

[2] Data for FY2017, Bloomberg, 2/22/19

[3] Data for FY2017, Bloomberg, 2/22/19

[4] Pfizer Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2018  Results,” Pfizer, 1/29/19

[5] SFGate, 2/5/19

[6] 2018 Fourth Quarter Results, Johnson & Johnson, 1/22/19

[7] Converted from 4.3 billion euro; The Pharma Letter, 2/7/19

[8] Converted from 9.8 million euro for FY2017; Bloomberg, Accessed 2/22/19

[9]  Fourth Quarter And Full Year Financial Results, Bristol-Myers Squibb, 1/24/19

[10] “Bristol-Myers Squibb expects to execute an accelerated share repurchase program of up to approximately $5 billion, subject to the closing of the transaction, market conditions and Board approval,” Bristol-Myers Squibb, 1/3/19

[11]Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2018 Results, Abbvie, 1/25/19

[12] Market Screener, Accessed 2/22/19

[13] Converted from 9.4 million GBP for FY2017; Bloomberg, Accessed 2/22/19

Protect Our Care Launches Senate Accountability Effort in Key States

POC State Teams Will Target GOP Senators in ME, CO, NC, IA, AZ, GA, OH and AK in effort to Protect People with Pre-existing Conditions, Lower Health Care Costs, and Hold the Line Against Health Care Repeal and Sabotage

Washington, DC — Protect Our Care (POC), the group which successfully fended off the efforts of President Trump and Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and then led the campaign to make it the defining issue of the 2018 elections, is launching its Senate accountability efforts. The program will focus on key states that are critical to holding the line against repeal and holding Republicans accountable for repeated attempts to sabotage health care.

Over the past two years, Protect Our Care maintained a significant presence in eighteen states and scores of congressional districts, where it used numerous tactics to lift up the success of the health care law and to defeat repeal including hundreds of events, protests and rallies; paid ads on television and social media; promoting the real health care stories of citizens; and a nationwide bus tour.

As the new congressional term gets underway with a Democratic majority in the House elected on the issue of health care, POC is kicking off its Senate accountability work in eight states — Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, and Ohio. POC’s state teams will work with in-state coalition partners and allies to put pressure on Republicans through earned media events, digital organizing, grassroots mobilization, rallies, protests, paid ads and other proven tactics. We will also mobilize the voices of people with pre-existing conditions, healthcare storytellers, and policy experts, so that these Republican Senators continue to hear from constituents from their home states.

“Health care is still the number one issue on the minds of voters and we’re going to continue to hold Republicans accountable for a repeal and sabotage agenda they simply can’t or won’t give up,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “Whether these members have voted repeatedly for repeal, refuse to oppose President Trump’s sabotage of the law or voted for the tax scam bill which undermined the health care law while lining the pockets insurance and drug companies, we are going to make sure their constituents hear about it – loud and clear. Scores of Republicans paid the price in November for their anti-health care agenda yet those who remain are committed to repealing American health care or are turning a blind eye to the Trump administration’s sabotage of the law – and they simply must be held to account and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”

Over the last few weeks our state teams have:

Domestic Gag Rule Puts Donald Trump Between Women And Their Doctors

Washington, DC — Today, ignoring the massive protests from the medical community and the American people, the Trump administration announced its final rule to erode the family planning guarantees of Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. Anne Shoup, communications director of Protect Our Care, issued a statement in response:

“The Republican war on women just entered a new phase with the administration’s rule that puts Donald Trump between women and their doctors. This rule, by banning providers from giving women all the facts even when they ask questions or when their lives are in danger, is cruelly designed to destroy women’s access to reproductive care. This radical rule is sadly in line with President Trump and his Republican allies’ previous attempts to dismantle women’s reproductive care and their continued sabotage of our health care in general.

THIS IS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S LATEST EFFORT TO STRIP WOMEN OF THEIR HEALTH CARE:

In Effort To Restrict Access To Information About Reproductive Health, The Trump Administration Removed Information About Contraceptive Coverage From Some Websites. “The Office of Population Affairs, under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), removed a collection of ten webpages related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (referred to as ‘the ACA Collection’ throughout this report) from its ‘Title X Family Planning’ website. The removed pages included a main ACA page, titled ‘Affordable Care Act,’ which linked to three pages titled ‘Initiatives,’ ‘Resources,’ and ‘Contraceptive Coverage.’ These three pages linked to six additional ACA-related subpages, including pages with the titles ‘Affordable Care Act Collaborative,’ ‘Health Insurance Marketplace,’ and ‘Contraceptive Coverage.’ The URLs for all ten pages were within the ‘hhs.gov/opa/title-x-family-planning/affordable-care-act/‘ filepath and now lead to error notices. An ‘Affordable Care Act’ menu in the sidebar of the ‘Title X Family Planning’ website, which previously linked to all webpages in the ACA Collection, was also removed.” [Sunlight Foundation, 2/5/19]

In January, A Trump Administration Rule That Would Have Allowed Employers To Restrict Women’s Access To Birth Control Was Meant To Take Effect — A Federal Judge Blocked It. “A federal judge in Pennsylvania stepped in at the last moment to pause Trump administration rules that would restrict the ability of some women to get birth control at no charge because their employers object on religious or moral grounds. U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone issued a nationwide preliminary injunction Monday afternoon, the same day the new policy was to take effect. Her ruling came less than 24 hours after a federal district court judge in California issued a more limited stay covering 13 states and the District of Columbia. The rulings in rapid succession, both by judges appointed by President Barack Obama, are the latest legal twists in a dispute over the expansion of health-care benefits for women under the Affordable Care Act that has wound through the courts for years. The rulings do not permanently block the Trump policy but stop it from going into effect while legal challenges are pursued.” [Washington Post, 1/14/19]

For a more comprehensive look at the multiple ways the Trump administration has targeted women’s health, take a look at our fact sheet from last spring: Trump’s 11 Worst Attacks On Women’s Health.