By Charles Ornstein, Eric Sagara and Ryann Grochowski Jones, ProPublica —
As transparency increases and blockbuster drugs lose patent protection, drug companies have dramatically scaled back payments to doctors for promotional talks. This fall, all drug and medical device companies will be required to report payments to doctors.
So many people grind up and inject or snort the powerful painkiller OxyContin that the drug’s maker has had to snap a plastic-like coating around the pill. The FDA says the improvement is marginal at best in reducing abuse of the drug, but better than nothing.
Health care reform is shaping up as astronomically expensive, but that’s only if private insurers and Big Pharma get their way, writes Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Without competition from the government—a public option—the health care industry will continue to gouge and Americans will still be in the weeds, a trillion dollars poorer.