- Jason Momoa will take on Big Pharma in his upcoming movie with Netflix “Sweet Girl.”
- The trailer shows his character trying to avenge his wife’s death after a pharmaceutical company pulls her life-saving treatment from the market.
- The pay-for-delay strategy is used by drug companies to keep more affordable alternatives to treatments off the market.
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Jason Momoa will soon star in an unconventional evisceration of Big Pharma: knife fighting, car chases, the FBI, and lots of explosions.
In Netflix’s upcoming action film “Sweet Girl,” Momoa’s character fights for justice against a massive pharmaceutical corporation alongside his daughter, played by Isabela Merced.
The trailer, released on July 9, shows Momoa and his daughter picking up the pieces after his wife’s death.
Shortly before she dies, she is told the life-saving drug they were banking on is not available because the pharmaceutical company that manufactures it has pulled it from the market.
Momoa’s character then embarks on a legal battle — turned actual battle — to avenge his wife’s death and fight the company behind the drug.
While it has all the trappings of a classic action movie, at the heart of it is a serious healthcare issue about Big Pharma’s “pay-for-delay” tactics which limit access to more affordable drugs.
How Big Pharma’s pay-for-delay deals keep drug prices high
This illustration image shows tablets of opioid painkiller Oxycodon delivered on medical prescription taken on September 18, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images
Pay-for-delay is a strategy commonly used by pharmaceutical companies to stop other companies from making accessible (generic) versions of their drugs — thereby keeping the prices high. In real life, it doesn’t typically prevent patients from getting any version of a drug.
It’s an issue senators are taking seriously: Advocates and lawmakers like Sen. Amy Klobuchar say this kind of strategy can cost people their money and their lives.
One recent, prominent example: Teva Pharmaceuticals paid a drug producer $69 million in 2019 to pull a generic version of narcolepsy drug Provigil off the market, reported Bloomberg Law.
Pulling the generic version of a drug from the market means consumers have to opt for the more expensive version of their medication, ensuring profit for the companies who create them.
In the movie, the CEO of the pharmaceutical company is confronted for “paying competitors to shelve generic brands of drugs.” In reality, laws bar companies from “paying off” competitors directly, so compensation is more complicated to track.
In a letter to former President Donald Trump in 2018, Klobuchar and Sen. Chuck Grassley urged him to support legislation that would limit pay-for-delay practices by Big Pharma.
“Americans, on average, pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. And recent projections indicate that US prescription drug spending will only continue to rise,” they wrote. “Many Americans are unable to pay their medical bills or are forced to skip doses of their prescribed medication.”
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