Karen Ignagni, the President/CEO of AHIP in discussing the astronomic price of Gilead’s HepC drug, Sovaldi ($84,000 for a 12 week course at $1,000 a pill):
“The reality is that the company in this case is asking for a blank check, and we can’t give anyone anymore a blank check in the health care system – whether it’s a pharmaceutical company, a hospital, a device manufacturer […] because it will blow up family budgets; it will blow up state Medicaid budgets; it will blow up employer benefit costs; and it will wreak havoc on the federal debt. So we now have to step back and say, is the hallmark of innovation higher pricing” (1)
Irony of Ironies. Karen Ignani slapping down the Pharmaceutical Industry. The CEO of the medical insurance cartel with its $102.4 million spent on lobbying during the health care reform debate(2) is calling out the drug companies because they will “blow up family budgets”. Forget the fact that the other industrialized nations provide full drug coverage in their universal health care systems. Forget the fact that the number of under-insured people with their new high deductible, narrow network policies can’t afford to get their medical needs cared for even though they are paying monthly premiums to the insurance companies(3). Forget that the insurance companies siphon off 20-25% of the premium dollar for “overhead” which includes outlandish payouts to their CEO’s. Aetna’s CEO received $30.7 million in 2013 and the CEO’s of the top 11 non-profit insurance companies took home $125 million.(4) Forget that it is the insurance companies who deny care prescribed by their customers’ doctors. Both of these rapacious, rent-seeking industries (insurance and pharmaceuticals) need to be reeled in because they are already wreaking havoc on the economy. Just another problem that could be solved by Medicare for All.