Let’s face it. Trust in government is shot to hell

A federal watchdog on Thursday found that fraudsters may have stolen $45.6 billion from the nation’s unemployment insurance program during the pandemic, using the Social Security numbers of dead people and other tactics to deceive and bilk the U.S. government. On top of that, the Justice Department on Tuesday announced charges against 47 people accused of stealing $250 million from a federal program designed to provide meals for needy children during the pandemic.

According to Pew, only two-in-ten Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” (2%) or “most of the time” (19%). Trust in the government has declined somewhat since last year, when 24% said they could trust the government at least most of the time.

When people don’t trust their government, they are more likely to opt out of voting and other types of civic participation. With less engagement, the public feels less empowered to influence government — and, in turn, government “hears” their needs and preferences less. This creates a mistrust loop: Diminished trust in government leads to a disengaged public, resulting in inefficient, unresponsive or unaccountable institutions, and that leads to further deterioration of trust and national progress.

Recent polling shows that more than half of Americans do not believe the government helps people like them, and two-thirds believe the government is not transparent or does not listen to the public. These are issues that should be acknowledged by the president and dealt with by his administration in substantial ways to restore faith in our democracy.

Take for example prescription drug prices. Four pharmaceutical companies have filed hundreds of patents to keep their drugs out of the hands of generic competition and prolong their “unprecedented profits”.

The excessive use of the patent system — by drugmakers Bristol-Myers Squibb, AbbVie, Regeneron and Bayer — keeps the prices of the medications at exorbitant levels, often at the expense of American consumers, according to the report from the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge, or I-MAK, a nonprofit organization that advocates drug patent reform.

The new report highlighted the patenting practices on a handful of blockbuster drugs.

Revlimid, a multiple myeloma drug made by the New York-based company Bristol-Myers Squibb, generated $8.7 billion in annual sales in 2021, representing 30% of the company’s overall revenue, according to the report. The original patent on the drug expired in 2019, but the drugmaker won’t face competition until 2026.

At least 206 patents have been filed on the drug, which Bristol-Myers acquired through its acquisition of the drugmaker Celgene in 2019. Nearly three-quarters of those patents were sought after it was approved by the FDA in 2005, the report found.

Humira, a rheumatoid arthritis drug from the Chicago-based biotech firm AbbVie, generated $17.3 billion in annual sales in 2021. There are 311 patent applications for the drug, 94% of which were sought after FDA approval. AbbVie’s original patent on the drug expired in 2016, but it won’t face competition until 2023.

Eylea, a medication for vision problems including age-related macular degeneration from Regeneron and Bayer, has 134 patent applications, 65% of which were sought after the drug was approved in 2011. It generated $5.8 billion in annual sales last year. Its exclusivity is set to expire in 2023, but it’s unlikely to face competition soon, according to I-MAK. That’s because some of its additional patents on the drug don’t expire until 2040.

You would thing our government would do the right thing but money from drug companies is flowing into politicians pockets. A politician, in Oregon, for example, received money from Lilly and then tried to add legislation to keep the price of insulin high.

Unfortunately money is power and politicians are only concerned about power and getting re-elected.

$45 billion dollars!!??

Will it ever end?

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