In case you missed it, Big Pharma giant AstraZeneca announced plans to acquire rare disease drug maker Alexion Pharmaceuticals in a $39 billion merger. AstraZeneca, the maker of blockbuster cholesterol medication Crestor, notched nearly $25 billion in revenue in 2019, while Alexion, best known for manufacturing one of the world’s most expensive rare disease medications, made nearly $5 billion in annual revenue for 2019.

The move was driven by AstraZeneca’s desire to diversify its rare disease portfolio since “high-priced medicines for rare diseases can generate billions in sales from relatively few patients,” Yahoo! reports. “Snapping up drugmakers that focus on them has been a popular way for larger pharmaceutical companies to stimulate sales growth in recent years.” In fact, priced at a staggering $500,000 per pill, Alexion’s rare disease medication Soliris, brought in almost $4 billion in sales for 2019.

What do AstraZeneca and Alexion have in common? Both follow the Big Pharma playbook of price-gouging patients and consumers while engaging in anti-competitive tactics to undermine more affordable alternatives.

As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

Here are just a few examples of how AstraZeneca has been price-gouging patients and moving to block competitors from coming to the market:

Alexion has a history of price-gouging products, developed with the help of public investment, used for the treatment of rare diseases:

This is just one of many Big Pharma takeovers that has happened in recent years as many of the largest drug makers have cash to burn as a result of their egregious pricing and anti-competitive practices. Last June, AbbVie announced plans to acquire drug maker Allergan in a $63 billion merger. Earlier that year, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced it was paying $74 billion for rival cancer drug company Celgene – one of the biggest mergers in industry history.

Learn more about market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable and lower prescription drug prices HERE.

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