Letter: Graybill wants to stop big pharma

The Montana Standard

July 19, 2020

One day four years ago my shoulder seized up. I suddenly could not throw a softball fifteen yards. For the next few years, the sporadic and sometimes debilitating inflammation I suffered went undiagnosed. A year ago, I started taking a drug called Humira. It gave me my life back — to me it is priceless. But it should not be.

AbbVie, Humira’s manufacturer, uses confounding legal tricks and private deals to keep competition out of the U.S. Consequently, Humira has an exceptionally, irrationally, high cost. The Washington Post reported its current list price as $72,000 a year. AbbVie rebates some costs to patients, meaning many of us pay nothing out of pocket. This is how I afford it. But every one of us, whether we take Humira or not, pays for these prices through higher insurance premiums. A recent study confirms the obvious — since 2017, generic competitors to Humira, which will not be sold in the U.S. for years, have saved Europe billions.

In Montana, the Attorney General is the only state official who can bring antitrust suits. Raph Graybill wants to use this power to stop big pharma from fleecing Montanans. Austin Knudsen does not. Perhaps this is not surprising — Mr. Knudsen is Greg Gianforte’s “hand-picked” candidate and Mr. Gianforte holds over $500,000 in AbbVie stock.

We do not need a puppet for big pharma and Mr. Gianforte. We need someone who will be the People’s Attorney and that person is Raph Graybill.