Having worked in the belly-of-the-beast for a few years long ago, it’s true. [not that Schering-Plough was the biggest of the big but still they did ok].
I remember when I had to work on the world drug wholesale prices. Per country. Calculated ROI, sent out interactive excel spreadsheets I programmed to help the sales reps encourage doctors to convince their patients.. well, anyway – the differences weren’t small.
Striking too were the differences per insurance company per region within each of the 50 states (+ PR) per drug.
Some states had statewide programs but many did not.
I couldn’t believe that:
a) where you lived in a particular state in the USA determined how much you’d pay for your prescriptions, no matter what insurance company you had.
b) your choices of insurance companies were locked in.
(there wasn’t any real choices that would ultimately benefit you in what you ultimately paid for your prescriptions, although some plans were a *little* better)
These prices were set at the wholesale level. Felt like a villain at times working there at times because I knew specifics of things (not just price schedules but advertising campaign tricks and legal games and snafus that never made it to the press) and I couldn’t say anything.
One thing I’ll confirm though is that it’s not really a conspiracy, either within big pharma or their relationships to politicians.
What you have instead more of is opportunistic scrambling for power, money and relevance (name 4 myself)
You’d think things were planned out long ahead of time, discussed, calmly enacted from smoky boardrooms with deviously smiling faces.
Instead, you had interdepartmental squabbles vying for power, the smell of desperation oozing out of their pores, and fear. Just fear.
I saw Cory Booker’s speech the other day : he’s really good at what he does. But I didn’t see a confident man making an impassioned plea but rather a desperate clamoring for relevance and a hope to impress big donors to support him later on down the line.
It’s a gamble. Sometimes it works and sometimes the tides shift out of their favor.
But the whole process is amoral. The problem with amoral is it can cross the line over into immoral very easily and the players won’t even see it happening.
You get no arguments from me here.
I talk to a lot of ppl with various political opinions online.
Some say, “They have a right to make a buck”. And, to be honest, that’s true. They can. That’s fine.
But that’s what makes watchdog groups, government and non-profit, press, and most importantly _community_ oversight, *so* critical. They can make their profits but the only morality they have is whatever the law says they can’t do, so it’s up to people with consciences to try to keep them on a “slightly less evil” route.
There’s a reason why Ayn Rand is so popular among so many of them. She gives them the excuse to say, “hey, it’s rational self-interest here. Perfectly moral.”