In keeping with the theme of choosing people who are as morally bankrupt and unqualified as himself, President Trump selected Alex Azar, a former top executive at big pharma company Eli Lilly, to succeed the ousted Tom Price. Azar was with the company when it decided to unnecessarily test Cialis, its erectile dysfunction drug, in children. The move was designed more to extend the drug’s expiring patent and beat the competition than show any medical benefit for minors.
The decision proved to quite lucrative for Eli Lilly as it afforded them another six months of exclusivity. In other words, Azar managed to game the patent industry and placed profits above all else. You know, basically, the only prerequisite to serving in the Trump Admin.
Despite the fact that he claims his only job will be to keep drug prices low, his time at Eli Lilly was quite the opposite. As a pharmaceutical executive for ten years, he’s personally benefited from keeping drug prices artificially high. Typically, when drugs are granted patents and market-exclusivity, the general rule of thumb is that makers are reimbursed for the development of the drug and turn a profit. However, many companies exploit the patent system and raise prices.
Via a Politico report:
Lilly regularly raised the wholesale price of the drug multiple times a year, usually by 9 percent or 10 percent, far outpacing inflation. To retain its lucrative patent, Eli Lilly turned to the 1997 Pediatric Exclusivity Provision. This provision to the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act intended to improve inadequate data for drugs in children by encouraging pharmaceutical companies to conduct more pediatric testing.
Since Azar mostly likely was aware of a Tulane University study that found “pediatric studies are skewed toward drugs having large sales markets,” and that they have no medical value, he was aware that the trials the company ran were more about reaping financial rewards and not about medical breakthroughs.
Eli Lilly justified testing Cialis on children to find out if it helps Duchene muscular dystrophy, a severe form of the disease that primarily affects boys. Pfizer, in turn, ran tests with Viagra to explore its benefits on a lung disorder. Neither company was able to find any medical benefits for either of these conditions.
Azar will most likely get confirmed by our Republican Senate this month, giving reckless and greedy executives even more power to screw with our lives.
Featured image Official Photo via Wikipedia