🎁'Tis the season to support public service journalism Donate Now

Why do pharmaceutical companies give away some expensive drugs for free?

Mar 31, 2023
Some offer patient assistance programs, where people can access drugs for free, or cheaper than they would normally pay.
Patient assistance programs might provide much needed relief for patients on an individual level, but they can end up costing health insurers more money.

A $30 million gift to build an addiction treatment center. Then staffers had to run it.

Jan 19, 2023
The money was a one-time gift for infrastructure, but to stay running, the clinic is on its own.
Crossing Healthcare, an addiction treatment facility in Decatur, Illinois, received a $30 million grant to build the center, but had to fund staffing and programs by itself.
Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

Researchers say they have first evidence of a drug that can improve COVID-19 survival

U.K. researchers say the cheap, widely available steroid dexamethasone reduced deaths by up to one-third in severely ill hospitalized patients.
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The U.S. wants El Chapo to pay nearly $12.7B as part of his sentence

Jul 16, 2019
Coming up with the number is one thing. Seizing that cash, experts agree, is another matter entirely.
View of the covers of Mexican newspapers in Mexico City, on February 23, 2014, after Mexican drug trafficker  Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested.
Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images

From cringeworthy to scary: a history of anti-drug PSAs

Mar 26, 2019
We remember anti-drug PSAs for reasons their makers didn't intend.
Illustration by Rose Conlon, images courtesy of Partnership for a Drug-Free America, National Crime Prevention Council and Truth.

For public good, not for profit.

FDA approves new Johnson & Johnson drug for depression

Mar 6, 2019
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first new kind of drug to treat depression since Prozac hit the scene in the late 1980s. Spravato is a nasal spray from Johnson & Johnson that’s a close cousin of ketamine, an anesthetic that’s sometimes used recreationally and often known as “Special K.” Because ketamine can cause […]
Janssen Pharmaceutica

The Sinaloa Cartel sans El Chapo

Is losing the leader of a drug-trafficking organization bad for business?
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín Guzmán Loera, is escorted by marines as he is presented to the press on Feb. 22, 2014 in Mexico City.

Big Pharma is betting big on cancer drugs

Jan 3, 2019
Bristol-Myers Squibb announced Thursday that it’s going to acquire another drugmaker, Celgene. The deal is worth about $74 billion. The combined company will have nine products with sales of more than a billion dollars a year, including some blockbuster cancer drugs. The merger is a sign that Big Pharma is betting big on cancer medications. […]