Saturday, August 27, 2016

Without Fred Upton, Manchin's Daughter Would Never Have Even Tried Murdering Patients By Astronomically Raising the Cost Of EpiPens


Fred Upton's Committee will never allow Medicare to negotiate fair prices with drug manufacturers

Joe Manchin's daughter, the Mylan CEO with a pronounced and lifelong penchant for cheating in her personal and business life-- who caused a scandal by bribing a university official to lie and say she got a degree when she didn't-- gets all the blame for the EpiPen scandal. She profited the most from it but she doesn't deserve all the blame. As we pointed out Thursday (in that same link as the one just above), House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), a persistent pawn of Big Pharma, took legalistic bribes from Mylan and helped shepherd their greed-driven agenda though Congress in return.

Paul Clements, the progressive Democrat challenging Upton for the southwest Michigan congressional seat, talked to us when we were researching Upton's connivance with Mylan in the EpiPen scandal:
"What does a 10% cost increase mean to you? For many seniors a 10% increase in the cost of medication can mean the difference between this medicine or that one, between taking the whole pill, or half. Or it can mean the difference between food and medicine. Right now our laws put corporate profit above seniors' needs. A new independent analysis published yesterday says the cost of hundreds of medications in the Medicare Part D program rose by 10% since 2014. Even more, the cost of simply enrolling in Part D rose 13% over last year alone. We need to let the government negotiate drug prices. In Congress I will be a leading proponent for it, and Congressman Upton has led efforts banning such negotiations. That's why I'm running, because simple, practical changes to our laws can make life changing differences to millions of Americans."
Although, as chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, he's supposed to be protecting the public from Big Pharma predators, Big Pharma has been Upton's second-biggest source of campaign funds since 1989-- $1,332,156. So far, this cycle alone Upton has taken the 4th biggest amount of anyone in Congress in legalistic bribes from drug manufacturers:

Yesterday, Paul Clements was connecting the dots for Michiganders about the Mylan and EpiPen revelations and Fred Upton's legalistic corruption. "Upton," he wrote, "responded to the controversy this week, pointing to a 2013 law Congress passed to ensure schools have access to the medicine, and saying 'We have been concerned about rising costs patients are facing for some prescription drugs. We are taking a hard look at the specifics behind this and have pressed Mylan for concrete answers. [emphasis was Clements', not Upton's.) While you read Paul Clements' more pointed retort, please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign by tapping the thermometer on the right: Goal Thermometer
Unfortunately, Congressman Upton’s response does not address the underlying cause of the controversy-- monopolistic practices by the pharmaceutical industry. As head of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton has played a leading role in blocking a number of measures that could drastically reduce the price of many pharmaceuticals, including negotiating Medicare Part D drug costs, which one study said could save between $15-16 billion annually, and reimporting prescriptions from Canada. Upton voted against those measures in 2007 and 2003 respectively. Bills to do both have been introduced to his committee, while no action has been taken in this Congress. Combined, all of these measures, in addition to a much needed increase in pharmaceutical oversight of price gouging, will reduce pharmaceutical costs to consumers.

..."While making EpiPens more available to schools is important to protecting children, we need to do more to protect everyone. Congressman Upton needs to face facts. Drug company greed is forcing seniors to choose between splitting pills and eating. It’s forcing working mothers to choose between EpiPens to save their own life or putting lunch money in their child’s backpacks. Congress needs to act to make prescription drugs available at a reasonable cost and end the price gouging we have seen repeatedly in recent months. I don’t trust Congressman Upton, who has taken over $1.2 million in campaign funds from pharmaceutical companies, to do that. Fred Upton’s committee has jurisdiction over this issue, why is he only 'looking at' this now? It’s not a new issue."
California voters aren't waiting for the authorities to throw crooked congressmen-- from both parties-- like Upton in prison for taking bribes from Big Pharma. California health care and consumer advocates are championing a ballot initiative, the Drug Price Relief Act (Prop 61) in November which would prevent any state agencies from paying more for a prescription drug than the price paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which, unlike Medicare, is permitted to negotiate with the drug manufacturers (and pays around 40% less). This initiative is being backed by Bernie Sanders and the president of the California Nurses Association, Deborah Burger, said that "Nurses see the patients who are forced to make a choice: 'Do I get treatment or do I leave something behind for my family for after I die?' We see the patients with high blood pressure come to the emergency room with heart attacks because they did not fill their prescriptions. We see diabetics go blind or lose limbs because they chose to pay their rent instead of paying for their medicine. It is immoral for people in this country to go without the medicine they need." Big Pharma is spending big bucks to defeat the measure, so far around $70 million.

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