I’m not afraid to stand up to corporate special interests, especially when the health of Orange County families is on the line. Last October, I grilled a Big Pharma CEO about the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. My questioning focused on how his company spent more money on stock buybacks, which enrich shareholders and executives, than on research and development that save lives. This exchange prompted a former employee from that company to reach out to our office and detail just how much the company prioritizes profits over patients, and how a culture of innovation was destroyed after the pharmaceutical giant merged with a small biotechnology firm.
I knew our office had to investigate, and our findings were shocking.
We interviewed former employees and dove into data, and the bottom line was clear: Consolidation destroys scientific cultures that once celebrated creativity and transforms them into places that cater to the whims of shortsighted shareholders.
For years, Big Pharma has gobbled up small biotech firms that might otherwise force them to compete. As soon as these companies are acquired, innovation stops. The culture of creativity is killed. New pipeline drugs are forgotten. The small firm’s vision is lost, and the big firm’s profits become priority.
Last week, our office released a bombshell report exposing the devastating effects of Big Pharma’s mergers and acquisitions.
Anyone who has ever purchased a car can tell you that negotiation is central to capitalism. So are price transparency, competition, and consumer choice. By any metric of a healthy market, the prescription drug industry fails. Pharmaceutical companies have little incentive to invest in innovation and the development of new medicine. Instead, they are free to devote their considerable resources to merging with or acquiring their competition.
But our investigation also shows how we can chart a new path forward that increases competition and most importantly, saves lives. Read more about the solutions I’m proposing here.
I’ll never stop fighting to get Orange County families the healthcare they need. Whether it’s exposing Big Pharma’s anticompetitive behavior, writing legislation to crack down on price gouging, or holding drug company CEOs accountable in hearings, I’m going to keep doing the work. Our healthcare system should never put profits before patients.
To stay up to date on how I’m representing you and California’s 45th district, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @RepKatiePorter.
Very truly yours,
Member of Congress