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Health Care for All Oregon is a grassroots coalition of over 100 organizations that are determined to create a better way of financing health care for every person who lives or works in Oregon.  Our mission is to provide publicly funded, privately delivered, high quality, affordable, universal health care to everyone. People will be free to choose their medical provider to give them the care that they need, free to choose their career, job, and time of retirement independent of health care costs.  We believe that health care is a human right.  The care we receive should not be dependent on what we can afford.  It is time we joined the rest of the free world and provided ourselves with publicly funded health care just like we do for education, libraries, fire fighters, and police.

Big Pharma: Crony Capitalism Out of Control

CounterPunch, November 24, 2014
by RALPH NADER

Two recent news items about the voracious drug industry should call for a supine Congress to arouse itself and initiate investigations about the pay-or-die drug prices that are far too common.

The first item—a page one story in the New York Times—was about the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation, which fifteen years ago invested $150 million in the biotechnology company Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop a drug for this serious lung disease.

On November 19, the Foundation reported a return of $3.3 billion from that investment. Kalydeco, the drug developed with that investment, is taken daily by CF patients (who can afford it) and is priced at $300,000 a year per patient. Who can pay that price?

The second news release came from the drug industry funded Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. The Center’s Joseph DiMasi asserts that the cost of developing a new prescription medicine is about $2.558 billion, significantly higher than the previous estimate of $802 million that the Center claimed in 2003.

The drug industry promoters use this ludicrous figure to justify sky-high drug prices for consumers. Unfortunately, the criticism of this inflated number does not receive adequate media attention.

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Feds disclose which Oregon providers take the most pharma money

The government released a database of all payments to doctors and hospitals from drug makers.

The government released a database of all payments to doctors and hospitals from drug makers.

by Dennis Thompson
Contributing Reporter- Portland Business Journal for Health Care Inc. Sep 30, 2014

Eugene plastic surgeon Dr. Mark Jewell received more payments and gifts from drug companies and medical device manufacturers than any other Oregon physician included in today’s release of data by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Jewell received $73,156 in payments and gifts during the last five months of 2013, according to data gathered by CMS and released today as part of its Open Payments program.

The Open Payments program, created by the Affordable Care Act, identifies specific doctors and lists the consulting fees, research grants, travel reimbursements and other gifts they have received from the health care industry.

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Insurers Push Back Against Growing Cost Of Cancer Treatments

Patient gets chemotherapy in North Carolina in 2003 (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images).

Patient gets chemotherapy in North Carolina in 2003 (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images).

by Julie Appleby KHN Staff Writer
Kaiser Health News Jun 17, 2014
This KHN story also ran in The Daily Beast

Some cancer patients and their insurers are seeing their bills for chemotherapy jump sharply, reflecting increased drug prices and hospitals’ push to buy oncologists’ practices and then bill at higher rates.

Patients say, “‘I’ve been treated with Herceptin for breast cancer for several years and it was always $5,000 for the drug and suddenly it’s $16,000 -- and I was in the same room with the same doctor same nurse and the same length of time’,” said Dr. Donald Fischer, chief medical officer for Highmark, the largest health plan in Pennsylvania.

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PhRMA's Money Affects Human Lives–and Journalism Too

by Jim Naureckas
FAIR Blog, March 27, 2014

Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo (3/27/14), is "excited to announce that we've launched a very cool new section" to the  website called Idea Lab: Impact. Marshall describes its focus:

How is science and applied technology affecting real human lives? How is it impacting people and communities living on the margins of global wealth and on the margins of the technological transformations of the 21st century–whether that's in Sub-Saharan Africa or Appalachia or in congested great cities of the world. Basically, how is and how can science and technology change the lives of people in their everyday lives–not only with their gadgets and not only for people who command great wealth, but real world impacts for everyone.

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Ranbaxy massive pharmaceutical fraud

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Leading generic drug maker faked test results for FDA approval

CBS NEWSNovember 6, 2013,

    Among the drugs prescribed to Americans, 80 percent are generic drugs, and 40 percent of drugs are now made overseas in countries such as China and India where U.S. oversight is weaker.

    Recently, CBS News' senior correspondent John Miller .

    Dinesh Thakur, an American-educated chemical engineer, was hired by Ranbaxy, back in 2003. He would later become a whistleblower, exposing massive fraud by the generic pharmaceutical giant, a company that sold Americans drugs like the generic version of Lipitor. His information led to Ranbaxy pleading guilty to seven felonies in a U.S. court in May, and pay $500 million in fines and settlements.

    Watch video HERE

    AIDS advocates say drug coverage in some marketplace plans is inadequate

    {Note: Please see Events, Member Organizations, for screening:  Fire in the Blood, a documentary on this topic.]

    by Ariana Eunjung Cha, Published: in The Washington Post December 9, 2013

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    The nation’s new health-care law says insurers can’t turn anyone away, even people who are sick. But some companies, patient advocates say, have found a way to discourage the chronically ill from enrolling in their plans: offer drug coverage too skimpy for those with expensive conditions.

    Some plans sold on the online insurance exchanges, for instance, don’t cover key medications for HIV, or they require patients to pay as much as 50 percent of the cost per prescription in co-insurance — sometimes more than $1,000 a month.

    “The fear is that they are putting discriminatory plan designs into place to try to deter certain people from enrolling by not covering the medications they need, or putting policies in place that make them jump through hoops to get care,” said John Peller, vice president of policy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

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    Weaponized Profits: The US Health Care System

    by Donna Smith  published Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 on Common Dreams

    Weaponized profits.jpg

    Many people who advocate for an improved and expanded Medicare for all for life health system in the US tend to vilify the for-profit, private insurance industry and big Pharma but ignore the atrocities committed by almost every other segment of the system. If we are to fix what ails the US health care system, we will have to get a whole lot more honest about all of the factions that lift profit-making above all else when engaging in the delivery of health care services.

    And no matter what Congress does or does not do with the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, until those of us being most grossly effected by our dysfunctional, profit-first health care system get honest about all the players and their roles in that dysfunction, we will continue to tinker around the edges and watch the numbers of health care dead and broke climb ever higher.

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    Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed By Industry Payoffs

    New Research Shows People with Cancer, Heart Disease, Other Serious Conditions Forced to Pay 10 Times More Than Necessary for Medication
    By: OSPIRG
    The Lund Report

    July 11, 2013 -- Oregonians with cancer, heart disease, epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs, according to a report released today by the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) and Community Catalyst.

    The report, “Top Twenty Pay-for-Delay Drugs: How Drug Industry Payoffs Delay Generics, Inflate Prices and Hurt Consumers,” reveals that these drugs were subject to an industry practice called “pay for delay,” in which brand name pharmaceutical companies pay off generic drug manufacturers to keep lower cost equivalents off the market, forcing consumers to pay higher brand-name drug prices.

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    Rising cost of colchicine portrays an American health care conundrum

    By Guest Columnist  Majd Isreb  on OregonLive, May 21, 2013

    "This medication is not only therapeutic, it's also diagnostic!" my rheumatology professor told us during my internal medicine residency, describing one of our oldest medications. "If the patient's arthritic pain resolves rapidly after taking colchicine, then he definitely has gout. This drug is also very cheap!" he said. Today, this medication, which has been on the market since the '60s, is no longer available except in one form that costs at least $5 per pill -- if you're lucky.

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