Ilhan Omar Blasts Manchin & Sinema for Siding with Big Pharma, Big Oil & Wall Street in Budget Talks

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show looking at how key elements of President Biden’s domestic agenda are in jeopardy. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked passage of the Freedom to Vote Act. Not a single Republican supported the bill. Senate Democrats could pass the sweeping voting rights legislation, but only if they voted to end the filibuster. However, two conservative Democrats — Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — oppose doing so. Manchin and Sinema have also forced President Biden to radically scale back the Build Back Better Act, which began as a…

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Competition watchdog fines pharma firm over pricing of crucial thyroid drug

Support us and go ad-freeThe UK’s competition watchdog has handed a pharmaceutical company a multimillion-pound fine after it increased the price of some thyroid medication by more than 6,000%. An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found from 2009 until 2017 Advanz charged “excessive and unfair prices” for supplying liothyronine tablets, which are used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency. The watchdog said this was because the drugs faced “limited or no competition”, meaning that it could sustain repeated price increases, which were “not driven by any meaningful innovation or investment”. Andrea Coscelli of the CMA said the increase “came at a huge cost to the NHS,…

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Workers Beg Joe Manchin to Save West Virginia Pharma Plant as His Daughter Walks Away with $31M

More than 1,400 workers in West Virginia are set to lose their jobs this week when the Viatris pharmaceuticals plant in Morgantown shuts down and moves operations overseas to India and Australia. Workers say they’ve had no response to their urgent requests for help from their Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, who is often called the most powerful man in Washington. Viatris was formed through a merger between two pharmaceutical companies, Mylan and Upjohn. Mylan’s chief executive, Manchin’s daughter Heather Bresch, got a $31 million payout as a result of the corporate consolidation before the new company set about cutting costs, including the closure of the Morgantown plant. Joseph…

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“Crime of the Century”: How Big Pharma Fueled the Opioid Crisis That Killed 500,000 and Counting

As the U.S. continues to deal with the fallout from the devastating opioid epidemic that has killed over 500,000 people in the country since 1999, we speak with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose latest documentary, “The Crime of the Century,” looks at the pharmaceutical industry’s methods in promoting and selling the powerful drugs. “I realized that the big problem here was that we had been seeing it as a crisis, like a natural disaster like a flood or a hurricane, rather than as a series of crimes,” says Gibney. “You had these terrible incentives, where the incentive is not to cure the patient. The incentive is to…

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As Global Pandemic Worsens, U.S. Keeps Blocking Vaccine Patent Waivers Amid Big Pharma Lobbying

Big Pharma has hired an army of lobbyists to pressure U.S. lawmakers to block an effort at the World Trade Organization to loosen intellectual property rules on COVID-19 vaccines, which would allow countries around the world to ramp up production, vaccinate more people and bring the pandemic to an end sooner. Dozens of countries from the Global South, led by India and South Africa, are demanding a temporary waiver on vaccine patents, but rich countries, including the U.S. under both the Trump and Biden administrations, have opposed the move. Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept, says there is a “glut” of vaccines going to wealthy countries while…

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The government must prove it’s not helping big pharma screw over poorer countries getting vaccines

MPs and campaigners are urging the government to prove it’s not putting the interests of pharmaceutical companies above poor countries in need of vaccines. Cross-party MPs came together to demand the government publish details of communications with pharmaceutical companies and lobbyists to ensure businesses have not been given preferential treatment in vaccine policy. This comes amid revelations that the Covax programme, meant to provide vaccines to poorer countries, is severely behind on its delivery targets. Pharmaceutical and humanitarian campaigners have called for intellectual property rights on vaccines to be waived so they can be mass-produced and get to struggling nations faster. However, the UK, along with the US…

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Share the Technology: Experts Say We Must End Big Pharma Monopoly on COVID Vaccine Supply & Price

As rich countries race to roll out their vaccination programs, leaders in the Global South and global health advocates are increasingly decrying vaccine hoarding that has pushed poorer countries to the back of the line during the pandemic. Some rich countries have secured enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate their populations several times over, while poorer countries struggle to secure enough doses, almost certainly prolonging the pandemic by months or even years. Public health policy expert Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni says an obvious way to address the issue is to share technology so more companies in more countries can produce the vaccines. “There is a supply issue,” she says. “We’re…

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Progressives Demand “Corporate-Free Cabinet” as Biden Taps Pharma & Fossil Fuel Allies for Top Jobs

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Today, climate and racial justice activists are joining unions and newly elected members of Congress to call on President-elect Joe Biden to address COVID, the economy and climate change, and appoint a, quote, “corporate-free Cabinet.” Their push comes as Biden announced several new appointments Tuesday, including Louisiana Congressmember Cedric Richmond to lead the White House Office of Public Engagement. The Sunrise Movement described the appointment of Richmond as a “betrayal” because he’s the leading Democratic recipient of fossil fuel money in Congress. This comes…

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Progressives Demand "Corporate-Free Cabinet" as Biden Taps Pharma & Fossil Fuel Allies for Top Jobs

Climate and racial justice activists are mobilizing with union members and newly elected members of Congress at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to call on President-elect Joe Biden to address the intersecting crises of the pandemic, economy and climate change. They’re also calling for Biden to create a “corporate-free Cabinet,” following his recent announcement of aides that included people with close ties to the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries. Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for the progressive group Justice Democrats, says it will be important to maintain pressure on the incoming administration in order to fulfill grassroots demands. “Unlike President Obama in 2008, there is not much of…

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