Last night 60 Minutes aired a scathing exposé of big pharma giants Sanofi and Novartis, and the unconscionable prices they charge cancer patients to use their drugs. As Lesley Stahl explains, a cancer diagnosis comes with two devastating blows — the diagnosis itself, followed by the shocking price tag associated with the drugs prescribed. To begin treatment, the annual cost of a typical cancer drug can be more than $100,000. By the time the next phase of drugs begins, that price can balloon to more than $250,000 per year for a cancer patient. Now some of America’s leading oncologists are fighting back by highlighting the moral bankruptcy demonstrated by the outrageous prices that big pharma giants charge for their drugs.
America is the only country in the world where federal law prevents the government from being able to negotiate down the price of these drugs. That’s why American cancer patients end up paying 2 to 3 times more for the same drug compared to Canadians, Europeans, Australians, and others. One of the most despicable people interviewed in the report is John Castellani, the president and CEO of PhRMA, the drug industry’s trade and lobbying group in Washington, whose company benefits immensely from the financial toxicity it inflicts on thousands of people each and every year. You can give John a piece of your mind at (202) 835-3400 , and by blasting him on Twitter with their handle @PhRMA.
The revolt of cancer doctors who are fighting back against the monsters of big pharma reached a tipping point in a New York Times op-ed piece in October 2012 which you can read at NYTimes.com. Now with 60 Minutes on board, big pharma’s argument — that drugs need to cost so much in order to pay for the expensive research and development — can finally be shot down once and for all. To give the greedy folks at Sanofi some of your fury you can call 1.800.981.2491, or tweet them at @SanofiUS. And for Novartis you can call 1.888.669.6682 and use their Twitter handle @Novartis.
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