Advocates and watchdogs call on New Jersey Attorney General to investigate pharmaceutical price gouging during pandemic
Trenton—New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA), NJ Appleseed Public Interest Law Center and New Jersey Organizing Project sent a letter today calling on New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to investigate price gouging by pharmaceutical company Jaguar Health. The company makes Mytesi, an anti-diarrheal drug often taken by people living with HIV/AIDS to treat the gastrointestinal side effects caused by drugs such as Remdesiver, currently being used to treat COVID-19 patients.
The federal Food and Drug Administration recently rejected a Jaguar Health application for emergency approval to use Mytesi as a treatment for COVID-19. Following this rejection the corporation has more than tripled the price of the Mytesti from $688.52 to $2,206.52 per bottle. These increases take place during a pandemic and economic downturn when millions of Americans go without medicine, incur debt for their prescriptions, or face hard choices between taking proper doses and paying for food and rent. Jaguar Health continues to press federal agencies to increase the use of Mytesi for coronavirus patients.
“This is just the latest example of price gouging we’ve seen from pharmaceutical companies that put profits ahead of the needs of patients, even in the midst of a pandemic,” said Maura Collinsgru, Health Care Program Director of New Jersey Citizen Action and organizer of NJ For Affordable Drugs. “It’s unconscionable that Jaguar Health takes these actions during a health crisis that has claimed that lives of nearly 100,000 Americans and left many millions struggling financially. We urge Attorney General Grewal and our state and federal elected officials to take swift, decisive action to protect the public and hold corporations that seek to profit off the pandemic accountable.”
“We’ve long needed structural changes with regards to the pharmaceutical industry, and meaningful regulation to effect such change,” said Renee Steinghagen. Executive Director of New Jersey Appleseed. “During a global pandemic the egregious pricing conduct of companies such as Jaguar are particularly repugnant. The public can see through the rhetoric of innovation masking and see how our unregulated markets encourage nothing more than simple greed. We urge the Attorney General and our elected leaders to protect Americans and New Jerseyans from that greed and hold Jaguar Health accountable.”