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Pharmaceutical companies justify huge drug price markups on the ground that the research to develop the drug was, itself, hugely expensive.

In February, a Canadian company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, decided to raise the price of two heart-saving drugs (Nitropress, Isuprel) by 212 percent and 525 percent, respectively, even though it had conducted no research on the drugs.

That was because, reported The Wall Street Journal, all Valeant did was buy the rights to the already-approved drugs from another company (which, of course, had thought the drugs -- research and all -- had been fairly priced at the lower amounts).

Neither of the drugs, Nitropress or Isuprel, was improved as a result of costly investment in lab work and human testing, Valeant said. Nor was manufacture of the medicines shifted to an expensive new plant. The big change: the drugs’ ownership.


Said a Valeant spokesperson, "Our duty is to our shareholders and to maximize the value" of our products (even, apparently, if it owned the product for less than a day before jacking up the price as much as five-fold).


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http://www.wsj.com/articles/pharmaceutical-companies-buy-rivals-drugs-then-jack-up-the-prices-1430096431 (external - login to view)