Big Pharma prices soar, Part 2

first_imgLifesaving medications, including Harvoni which can cure hepatitis C, are often developed through taxpayer-funded research. But they are priced out of reach for most of the people who need them. There are no laws or other restrictions to stop pharmaceutical companies from charging whatever they can get away with. And they count on Medicaid and Medicare to pick up the bill.While the December 2016 findings of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging should clearly be grounds to indict the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies responsible for price gouging, the odds are against this ever happening. (For names of offending companies, see Part 1 in Jan. 5 WW.)Since 1959 the U.S. Congress has held over 50 separate hearings to investigate the pharmaceutical industry. All have reached pretty much the same conclusion: Pharmaceutical companies are maximizing their profits at the expense of the public.Despite all these hearings, at who knows what cost, Congress has yet to pass any legislation that would restrict pharmaceutical companies from charging whatever they want. Nonetheless, the hearings go on and on.In 2014 the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging held a hearing to investigate steep and unexpected price hikes on some generic drugs. But the cost of many generic drugs has continued to skyrocket.In 2015 the U.S. Congress held hearings to investigate Gilead Sciences for raising the cost of drugs, including Harvoni. The investigation concluded that the only explanation for the high costs was the company’s greed: Gilead was charging as much as it could get away with for the drug because it could.Early in 2016 the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called Mylan CEO Heather Bresch to testify after the outrageous rise in the price of the lifesaving EpiPen. While Mylan has now lowered the cost, it still remains significantly higher than what is charged outside the U.S.In December 2016, the U.S. Justice Department brought criminal charges against two pharmaceutical executives for conspiring with other drug makers to fix generic drug prices. The DOJ charged former pharmaceutical executives Jeffrey A. Glazer and Jason T. Malek with colluding over the course of seven years with “unnamed brand-name corporations and individuals” to fix prices and rig bids on drugs used to treat bacterial infections, acne and diabetes.Six pharmaceutical companies are currently under investigation for conspiring to fix prices of generic medicines under a civil action filed by 20 states. News of these investigations sent pharmaceutical stocks tumbling, but odds are it’s a temporary setback.U.S. gov’t policies promote higher drug pricesWhen the House Committee on Oversight and Government attempted to question Martin Shkreli in 2015 over the dramatic price increase of Daraprim, he refused to answer any questions other than explaining how to pronounce his name. After repeatedly taking the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, Shkreli later expressed his disdain for the process in a Twitter post: “Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government.”While his contempt of Congress comes from the point of view of people in the billionaire class that Congress actually protects, in a way Shkreli underscored an important problem: The U.S. remains the only developed country with no real oversight to restrict what drug companies can charge the public.Prescription drugs can be found at lower prices — outside the U.S. In Egypt Harvoni costs $10 per pill. Daraprim can still be purchased in Britain for 66 cents a pill and costs even less in India. An EpiPen two-pack can be purchased at a pharmacy in Canada for $145 and in Britain for $69. If you didn’t live in the U.S., you could buy all these drugs and more from other countries for far less.However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration makes it very difficult for individuals to import prescription drugs for personal use unless the drug is for a serious condition and not available in the U.S. Even then, no more than a three-month supply can be imported.Congress passed the Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) in 1987 prohibiting anyone other than U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers from importing prescription drugs. Some states have recently required doctors to electronically send prescriptions to pharmacies instead of giving written prescriptions to patients, making it harder for them to seek lower prices.Profits before people remains the governing principle that dictates U.S. policies. The U.S. is the only country that allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to set drug prices with no limitations.As of this writing, one of two people being vetted as the next Food and Drug Administration commissioner is Jim O’Neill, a managing director at Mithril Capital Management, run by one of Donald Trump’s billionaire donors and advisors. O’Neill has suggested that the FDA let drug companies put products on the market before proving they work. They just have to be “safe” before being sold. O’Neill’s take on new drugs: “Let’s prove efficacy after they’ve been legalized.”This is after passage of the 21st Century Cures Act under the Obama administration, which has already undermined patient safety by requiring less restrictive testing before drugs are marketed.Whether Trump appoints O’Neill or another billionaire, it’s clear that the end game won’t be to improve conditions for working and poor people. Untested and potentially unsafe new drugs are not the solution to the health crisis caused by exorbitant prices. The prescription called for is to eliminate the capitalist profit drive behind this crucial industry.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

“Employability skills” key for graduates

first_imgLinkedin Advertisement Changes to the Student Support Scheme for people living in Direct Provision TAGSeducationLimerick College of Further EducationPat Maunsell LCFE director News“Employability skills” key for graduatesBy John Keogh – October 30, 2014 859 Twitter Students in Limerick colleges to benefit from more than €1.5M funding to assist with online learning Print Previous articlePremier night party for film festivalNext articleSophie’s legacy John Keogh Facebookcenter_img Applied Social Studies graduates at the recent Limerick College of Further Education graduation ceremony Applied Social Studies graduates at the recent Limerick College of Further Education graduation ceremonyTHIRD level research has emphasised the need for a shift “from skills for employment towards skills for ‘employability’”, according to Limerick College of Further Education director Pat Maunsell.Speaking at the college’s annual graduation ceremony last week, he said: “Today, one has to be a lifelong learner. You must be good at learning. Recent research emphasizes the shift from skills for employment towards skills for ‘employability. Skills such as good communication, interpersonal and ICT skills are crucial for success today because all jobs require them.”Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Mr Maunsell also said that the LCFE can play a key role in the region’s economic recovery.He continued: “This fast-paced world is constantly changing and the future will be challenging for all of us.  We live in difficult economic times where there are financial and other pressures on us all.  The indicators are though that things are picking up.  We believe that LCFE can play an important role in the recovery of the Limerick and Clare region and play a significant role in getting people back to work and onto to higher education if they so wish.”Almost 250 learners received awards in various disciplines and the ceremony, held in The Strand Hotel, was attended by more than 750 guests and graduates. RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Limerick schools urged to get involved in STEM challenge Email Consultation process on a new action plan for apprenticeship launched Limerick social entrepreneurs honoured for their work in response to covid-19 Education and Training Board serves up award winning standards WhatsApplast_img read more

UL drops out of top 500 universities

first_imgWhatsApp University of Limerick appoints first ever woman president of an Irish university Email Breaching the gender barrier at UL The main building at the University of LimerickThe University of Limerick has dropped out of the world’s top 500 universities.The 2016 World University Rankings, published last week, ranks UL in the 501-550 band, a significant fall from its previous position of 471.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The Irish Universities Association (IUA) has responded to this news by referring to a decade of austerity and its “corrosive effect” on our higher education system.Stating that the “continued slide” of the Irish Universities should be “greeted with alarm” the IUA said that positive strides in research and the internationalisation of the staff and student cohort was being “undermined by the negative impact of underfunding on key indicators such as the student:faculty ratio.”IUA Chief Executive, Ned Costello said: “We can no longer hide from the corrosive effect which years of cutbacks are having on our higher education system. At a time when we are more dependent than ever on the talent of our people for our economic future, we simply must invest in our universities.”“An immediate injection of funding is required in the upcoming Budget and Estimates to fund more lecturers, deliver smaller group teaching and restore quality in our system,” Mr Costello concluded.Between 2007 and 2014, state funding for universities in this country fell by 28%, from €722.8m in 2007 to €522.2m in 2014.Conversely there was an increase in full-time enrollment in Irish universities of 18%, from 78,577 in 2008 to 93,023 in 2014.Reacting to these figures, the General Secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT), Mike Jennings, said, “It is shocking to realise that student to academic staff ratios were worse in 2011 than those described in the report of the Commission on Higher Education (1967) and increased from 19:1 in 2007 to 23:1 in 2011.”Mr Jennings echoed the need to address this issue in this year’s budget, “The forthcoming Budget must address this crisis as a priority. The government must provide adequate funds to enable universities to recover from a decade of what now seems like deliberate neglect and downgrading of third-level education,” he said.All but one of Ireland’s universities have dropped in the listings, with only National University of Ireland in Galway improving upon last year’s position by rising from 271st to 249th.Trinity College Dublin remains Ireland’s highest ranked university in 98th place. For the fifth year running the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been rated as the world’s best university.Out of the 32 OECD countries featured in the rankings, Ireland’s expenditure on third-level institutions was the fourth lowest. Linkedin Twitter Previous articleSocials – Press Ball 2016 LaunchNext articleLimerick councillors fobbed off by transport authority Editor Advertisement Limerick Post Show | Careers & Health Sciences Event for TY Students center_img Print NewsEducationUL drops out of top 500 universitiesBy Editor – September 8, 2016 995 TAGSUL Facebook University of Limerick came out on top at this years Smedia Awards Intermediate Care Facility patients benefiting from holistic healthcare model RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Limerick Post Show | CSSI 2020last_img read more

THE BETTER HALF: Syracuse scores 50 points in second half to overcome early struggles in 85-61 win over Canisius

first_img Published on December 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_ Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse’s win was a tale of two halves. After going a week without playing any games, the Orange started slowly and gave Canisius hope.“We were fortunate and our defense was good enough that we weren’t behind,” head coach Jim Boeheim said.The first half ended as sloppily as it was. Brandon Triche’s last-second layup, which came after a broken play, rolled into the hoop to close out an ugly first half to the roar of the the 18,120 fans inside the Carrier Dome. It put Syracuse (9-0) up by three points and the Golden Griffins (6-2) were in striking distance. That all changed in the second half when the Orange found its rhythm and cruised to an 85-61 win over Canisius.Triche’s layup at the buzzer came when Michael Carter-Williams took the ball up 1-on-1 against Canisius’s Reggie Groves and lost the ball twice, only for Triche to gain possession and make the bucket.The play typified an equally scattered first half for the Orange, one that ended with Syracuse up 35-32. The Golden Griffins outworked SU on the perimeter as well as on the boards, outrebounding SU 21-17 in the first half.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut the Orange would distance itself in the second half as shots began to fall and rebounds bounced more favorably. Ultimately the same height, versatility and overall physical advantages that have allowed SU to largely run through its nonconference schedule doomed the Golden Griffins to a familiar fate.“In the second half they just they came out and made some big plays, big shots,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “They shot 62 percent for the second half, and made the extra pass.”SU enjoyed a size advantage, leaving Canisius to resort to fouls under the basket. Freshman center DaJuan Coleman was the main target. But he, like fellow center Baye Moussa Keita, Orange failed to make the Griffins pay in the first half. Both went 0-for-2 at the line.As a team the Orange shot just 5-of-11 at the line before halftime. The Griffins went 5-of-6.More damning was the Golden Griffins’ ownership of the boards. Only the 6-foot-10 Jordan Heath and his 6-foot-9 brother Josiah could stand up to Coleman, Rakeem Christmas or Moussa Keita, never mind SU’s lanky guards. And the Heath brothers were tepid at best. Only SU was preoccupied enough chasing around the Griffins guards that the Heaths had time to get open, receive a pass, realize they were open, and drive.“I think DaJuan got some opportunities there, he showed what he can do inside, and we’re still trying to get better on the defensive end with him,” Boeheim said. “With these smaller teams, we’re looking at three- and four-guard teams it’s really hard to play the two big guys together. It’s really hard to do.”Boeheim pointed to some long rebounds as a cause for the visitors’ edge on the boards, but there was no denying SU lacked the edge to put away its opponents early.“I thought the first half we really weren’t as good defensively as we need to be, we missed five or six free throws and missed, maybe three layups and you know, you just can’t do that,” Boeheim said. “You just can’t do that.”Triche didn’t start the second half strongly either, missing his second free throw just 10 seconds in.But then the game took a sharp turn.C.J. Fair sank a pair of free throws and Southerland hit a 3-pointer within 32 seconds of each other and suddenly the once-shaky 35-32-halftime lead had grown to a comfortable 41-32 lead that hardly shrunk.After the game, Boeheim referred to Carter-Williams as “the key.” The guard finished with 14 assists, but two plays midway through the second half signaled the end was near for Canisius.Up 50-37, Carter Williams drove down the right side of the paint, and seven feet out leapt for what would’ve been a dunk. He just missed off the back rim and was called for a charge, but it was clear Canisius was running out of gas.“At the end of the day the difference was they made shots, and they made big shots,” Baron said.With Syracuse up by 14 with just less than eight minutes left, Carter-Williams emphatically grabbed an offensive board over the head of Canisius’s Harold Washington.Canisius hung around, largely on the back of a 5-for-9 3-point shooting night from Isaac Sosa. But a furious 86-second, 7-0 run from the Orange sent the Golden Griffins packing.Christmas hit a jumper from the right elbow with 3:56 remaining. James Southerland nailed a 3 46 seconds later. Then Fair stole the ball, sparking a Southerland fast-break dunk, and finally Triche finished on the break with 2:30 remaining to give SU a 78-57 lead.Jerami Grant, Trevor Cooney and Moussa Keita all rose from the bench. Players that hardly saw the floor in the first half came on to finish an entirely different second.Said Southerland: “They were doing a good job but we just got our break.” Commentslast_img read more