The Big Lie, Pharma-Style (or Katie Porter is a National Treasure)

I understood that, but so what? the executives make so much $$, etc. It is not illegal, nor are drug prices controlled by Congress.

So, what would YOU suggest?

Now there is this:
Maloney, along with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Chairman David Cicilline, D-R.I., called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the company’s “anticompetitive conduct is in violation of U.S. law.”

And yes, anticompetitive conduct can be illegal But that has nothing to do with executive pay, ad budget, and so forth. All those are legal. Are we going to control ad budgets? Can we start with Kars4Kids? :laughing:

So, my point is- what are they doing which is illegal? What, exactly are they doing which shoudl be illegal?

Look, I like the fTC, and if they show Abbvie is violating anticompetitive laws, then great, stomp on them.

But profits- no matter how high- are not “obscene”.

Will that not come afoul of the 1st Ad? I mean, they can’t even ban tobacco ads, except on broadcast channels or by deals made with the tobacco industry. I do not think Congress can tell a industry they can not buy advertising.

and here are the highest executive salaries in the uSA:

  • Chad Richison (Paycom) - $211.13 million
  • Amir Dan Rubin (1Life Healthcare) - $199.05 million
  • John Legere (T-Mobile) - $137.2 million
  • Larry Culp (General Electric) - $73.19 million
  • Chris Nassetta (Hilton) - $55.87 million

Are those also wrong and obscene?

Here is the top 50:

Gee, I wonder how we could find out? Maybe we can get some members of Congress to start an inquiry and give the interested parties a chance to make their case. Then we could have a debate on whether or not the actions were illegal, just amoral, or just fine. And whether or not congress should take any actions to regulate the actions in question in the future!

Just because you think the actions aren’t illegal doesn’t make it so. And even if you’re right maybe that should change.

If you’re asking me I say “yes”! Clearly you don’t agree. But, I bet the pendulum of public opinion is swinging such that more people will be agreeing with me.

Yes. And a solution has been proposed: tax the crap out of executive compensation that is more than X% of either median or lowest paid worker.

Your argument here is quite disingenuous. You keep ignoring the fact that their profits are now around 10%. For most of the duration of the Trump Administration, their profits were much higher, more like 30-35%. This is what your own cite shows. I consider that obscene, when people who need their drugs may die if they don’t have access to them.

A threshold point: Health care is not an elastic supply-and-demand issue. We are taught this in Econ 101. When someone needs a drug to live, they need a drug. They don’t have the option of strolling down the street for a different drug from a different manufacturer, like for a hamburger, a different car dealership, a discount grocer or from Best Buy to Fry’s. They are entirely at the mercy of the drug manufacturer and must pay whatever the manufacturer demands. Drug companies consolidated over the past several years to eliminate competition to the greatest extent possible.

You keep trying to compare the health care industry to other industries where there is a lot of competition, which naturally works in the classic capitalist way to regulate profits, against an industry that has no meaningful competition. Moreover, their “customer base” has no leverage in the local market whatsoever. Do you not grasp this important distinction?

It’s not an either/or choice.

Yes, we are a capitalist society, and from the standpoint of healthcare, it sucks. Not every societal need can be solved – or should be solved – through capitalism.

You seem to be fully missing the point of this thread, as @mikecurtis stated. Katie Porter is doing her best to educate the public that this societal need requires a new and better approach. Exposing the extent to which health care and drug companies hide their money and take profits against the very real health care horror shows regular people suffer every day due to runaway costs and limited access to care and drugs, is an impactful way to do that.

As for offering solutions, I don’t believe this mess will ever be solved until people stop looking at health care as a profit industry. People don’t need access to good health insurance coverage. They need access to good health care. Eliminate those in the middle who profit on the backs regular citizens in this way to the greatest extent possible, and it will solve a lot of problems in terms of getting costs under control and granting equal access.

Yes, they do have no legal obligation to provide legitimate rationale for raising prices.

There is controlling law that says Abbvie has to answer to the government for their prices. That law comes in the form of Congress’s plenary power to regulate interstate commerce, but tangibly it comes in the form of a Congressional subpoena (backed by contempt of Congress, and used/threatened in this instance) or relevant legal actions under antitrust laws (not applicable here).

The same laws apply to Ford Motor Company, McDonald’s Corp., and Walmart, Inc. All must answer to subpoenas from Congress and all are subject to antitrust laws.


Neither Akaj nor I railed at Abbvie for making obscene profits, perhaps you had us confused with someone else. I don’t care about the company’s overall profit margins, and I think by relying on that 10% number you have missed the point of the entire topic and specifically, Akaj’s post.

It’s like managing a department, you’re saying look, they are only barely under budget so our allocation is very efficient.


That is your opinion, and not mine.

Irrelevant. There is zero relationship between what profits a company reports and whether the company’s pricing is extortion.


I would be surprised to hear that argument today. Drug companies have other defenses these days, like blaming pharmacy benefit managers.



Did you read your own cite? Paragraph II,

The committee’s two-year investigation found that AbbVie “pursued a variety of tactics to increase drug sales while raising prices for Americans, including exploiting the patent system to extend its market monopoly, abusing orphan drug protections to further block competition, and engaging in anticompetitive pricing practices.”


Yes. But that has not yet been substantiated yet by a court. No penalties have been assessed. Those are charges, and if true, then yes, the FTC should penalize them.

Maybe, maybe not. I think that Congress could certainly preclude drugs that are advertised directly to consumers from receiving Medicare money, for example. You could even attempt to reduce patent protection if DTCA was used.

There is certainly a good amount of research that indicates that DTCA is causing medical harm to patients and price increases for the government.

At the very least, when companies are attempting to justify their prices, regulators should discount costs related to advertising when determining whether the cost increases are justified. There is little reason to believe that DTCA of prescription drugs is good for public health, and I see no reason the government should be subsidizing it.

So there should be an investigation, right?

Only by the Sackler family.


But innocent until proven guilty. Let’s not break out the tumbrels just yet, eh?

It’s on the FTC to take Abbvie to court or to issue penalties, hence why Congress called on the FTC.