Progressive group calls on millions of members to sign letter to Capitol Hill
The phone service provider CREDO Mobile, which doubles as a progressive activism organization, sent an email to its subscribers and supporters in December 2015 asking them to sign a petition demanding that Congress do more to hold pharmaceutical corporations accountable.
The email, titled “Tell Congress: Time to hold Big Pharma accountable,” a copy of which was obtained by the Deadly Prescription blog, opens with the phrase “Big Pharma is out of control.”
“Prices are skyrocketing and the biggest companies are raking in billions while sick people can barely afford the medicine they need. Hedge fund [speculators] are buying up desperately needed drugs and jacking up the prices. And just a few weeks ago, Pfizer and Allergan merged in one of the biggest tax-dodging corporate restructures in history,” says the communique.
The petition verbiage which will accompany the signatures to Washington asserts: “As [the pharmaceutical industry] rakes in record profits and avoids paying its fair share of taxes, the American people are struggling to afford our basic needs. It is time that Congress hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable.”
On its website CREDO describes itself as “a social change organization that supports activism and funds progressive nonprofits.”
The email also states, “The pharmaceutical industry is running roughshod over patients and our democracy itself in its wild pursuit of profit. Progressive champions in Congress like Rep. Elijah Cummings and Sen. Bernie Sanders have stepped up to fight the reckless greed.”
CREDO also summarizes some of the worst abuses committed by Big Pharma of late:
Martin Shkreli, purchased a drug for pregnant women and HIV patients and announced he would jack up the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He spent his days tweeting about private planes and $20,000 bottles of wine and mocked the many who questioned how he could sleep at night.
“Even though Americans already pay the highest prices for prescription drugs of anywhere in the world, new treatments are debuting at sky-high prices. Even old generic drugs have seen price increases. In the past year, prices have gone up 12% on average, and at times over 1,000%. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry is spending millions on marketing and lobbyists to protect its unfair monopolies,” says the email.
In recent years, more than 22 major companies, including pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, have attempted tax inversions, a loophole that will cost the U.S. an estimated $34 billion in tax revenue over the next decade. CREDO emphasizes that “it is unconscionable that the pharmaceutical industry is allowed to rake in record profits while avoiding paying their fair share of taxes. Enough is enough.”
Drug companies have successfully lobbied to bar Medicare from using its massive buying power to negotiate lower drug prices. “But there is a bill in Congress that would change that, along with increasing transparency, instituting stiffer penalties for fraud, and cracking down on anti-competitive behavior like paying competitors to keep other drugs off the market. There is also legislation to crack down on tax inversions—changing the rules to so corporate deserters cannot get away with using loopholes to avoid paying America back for getting rich off of our roads, laws, investments, education system, and more,” says CREDO.
The petition’s sponsor says that its activism arm, CREDO Action, “channels the power of its 3.5 million members to fight for progressive change.”