Perhaps I wear rose-colored glasses, but I was astounded by an article from Becker’s Hospital Review regarding the Lown Institute and their sixth annual Shkreli Awards. For those of you who may not remember, Martin Shkreli was an investor who became infamous for profiteering by buying the only manufacturer of the medication Daraprim and then raising the price from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill and wound up going to jail for it. The Lown Institute’s award is given to individuals or organizations who appear to have shamelessly profiteered at the expense of our patients or our fellow healthcare professionals. I guess I just never realized how prolific this is.
I won’t itemize the awards here; you can follow the link and read the details. If true, some of these cases are truly horrific. A careful read of each case left me with questions. I was curious, so I perused their archives. There are some awardees where the problem did not seem systemic, but a lot where they did (at least to me).
I found myself wondering whether we would recognize profiteering (or at least what might be profiteering) if we encountered it and what we might do about it if we did.
- How might it appear to us?
- What if it was happening at our own institution?
- If we thought it was going on, who would we tell?
I confess I don’t know the answers to these questions.
As always, the comments in this blog reflect my thoughts and not necessarily those of ASHP or of my employer.
Dennis A. Tribble, PharmD, FASHP
Ormond Beach, FL