It’s not every day that Republicans get caught being quite this cartoonishly evil but it shouldn’t surprise a single one of us. When Big Pharma got its knickers in a twist over a generic drug being produced in Colombia, they sent their Republican puppets to shut it down:
According to The Intercept, leaked communications from the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Colombian embassy in Washington expressed concern about possible congressional retaliation if the country approved plans to manufacture a version of imatinib, used in treating chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal tumors.
The current annual cost of treatment using imatanib is over $15,000 — almost twice the average Colombian’s income.
Yes, you read that correctly. Republicans are threatening to retaliate against an entire country for daring to produce a cheaper version of a drug that will save the lives of its citizens. All because Big Pharma wouldn’t be able to squeeze Colombians for more profit.
And just in case this wasn’t obnoxious enough, the WAY Colombia was threatened should make any American with a shred of decency cringe:
According to the letter, [Senate Finance Committee International Trade Counsel Everett] Eissenstat stated “if the Ministry of Health did not correct this situation, the pharmaceutical industry in the United States and related interest groups could become very vocal and interfere with other interests that Colombia could have in the United States.”
And how could this be accomplished? Sen. Orrin Hatch is the head of the very same Senate Finance Committee that Eissenstat works for and he’s so deep in Big Pharma’s pocket, his driveway might as well be built out of little blue pills. Who do you think sent Eissenstat to deliver the warning? And what exactly would these “other interests” be?
According to [Deputy Chief Andrés] Flórez, “this case could jeopardize the approval of the financing of the new initiative ‘Peace Colombia,’” for which the Obama administration has pledged $450 million.
“Peace Columbia” is designed to bring together fighting rebel factions in the country, with some of the money allocated for removing landmines.
In other words, Big Pharma would have Republicans block hundreds of millions in foreign aid to end pointless bloodshed. The United States government has been reduced to extortion on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. “Nice country you got there. Be a shame if something were to happen to it.” We’re Big Pharma’s enforcers. Oh, and we would be impeding the removal of landmines, a scourge that kills and maims over 20,000 people a year. Did you think I was being hyperbolic in the title by calling Republicans “murderers?” Still think that’s true?
Now, this isn’t like the US government going after China for producing and selling cheap knockoffs of iPhones. That kind of economic warfare is a legitimate issue to deal with. No, what we’re talking about here is a government producing a life saving drug for its own citizens because the drug manufacturer is consumed with greed, putting profits over people’s lives. But who cares about that? Big Pharma wants its cut or else. Aren’t you proud to be an American?
I’d say Orrin Hatch should be ashamed of himself but he would have to have a conscience or a soul first.
Featured image via Getty