If nothing else, the U.S. should take over the manufacture of drugs deemed to be important to the interest of public health:
Valeant Pharmaceuticals raised the price of a drug used to treat lead poisoning by 2,700 percent after acquiring the drug in 2013. By 2015 – as the issue of lead poisoning became prominent news – the price for a package of vials rose from $950 to $26,927.
This intravenous treatment, called Calcium EDTA, has been available for decades at a stable price, and is the most effective for severe and life-threatening cases of lead poisoning. The dramatic price increase has drawn the ire of poison control specialists and hospitals since it began, but their concerns don’t make the MSM news headlines.
“This is a drug that has long been a standard of care, and until recently it was widely accessible at an affordable price,” said Dr. Michael Kosnett, an associate clinical professor in the division of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine and a consultant to the California Poison Control System, who has contacted Congress. “There’s no justification for the astronomical price increases by Valeant, which limit availability of the drug to children with life-threatening lead poisoning.”
The problem is, the drug does not have a long shelf life and is not needed in large quantities, since severe lead poisoning is relatively uncommon. This is precisely the excuse Valeant gives for its egregious price hikes, with a company spokesman telling STAT, “The list price increases over the past several years have enabled us to provide to the market consistent availability of a product with high carrying costs and very limited purchase volume of 200 to 300 units per year.”