Martin Shkreli, aka “Pharma Bro” or, more appropriately as the biggest assh*le, looks like he’s once again going to price out the poor from receiving treatment — this time for the third most common parasite disease in the world.
Chagas, or “kissing bug disease,” affects 300,000 immigrants in the U.S. and 8 million in Latin America. As of now there is no charge for the treatment in the U.S. since the CDC can obtain benznidazole for free. In Latin America, the treatment can be purchased for $60 to $100.
Shkreli’s new company, KaloBios, has submitted benzindazole for FDA approval for chagas. If KalBios gets control of the drug, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show the price can go up to $100,000 for a single course of treatment.
“If this price hike were to happen, it would be a complete disaster for Chagas patients in the United States,” said Rachel Cohen, the regional executive director of the Drugs for Neglected Disease Initiative in North America. “People affected by this disease in the United States are poor, are marginalized, have very limited access to health care to begin with. It would be catastrophic.”
To learn more about Martin Shkreli control over benznidazole in The Atlantic, click here.
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They say the truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, that saying happens to be true. New reports from federal prosecutors in New York have come out that implicate Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández in drug trafficking, embezzlement, and fraud.
For years, Honduras and the United States have publicly touted themselves as partners in global the war on drugs. But it seems that, privately, President Hernández felt differently.
Prosecutors allege that Hernández said that he wanted to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos”.
Is #Honduras the first narco-state of the Americas ? The evidence would seem to indicate it. Why don’t we hear more about it? Why is not an issue ?
Federal prosecutors say that Hernández “said that he wanted to make the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration think that Honduras was fighting drug trafficking, but that instead he was going to eliminate extradition.”
The allegations against President Hernández are part of a larger drug trafficking case prosecutors have against, Geovanny Fuentes, a prolific Honduran trafficker whom authorities arrested in Miami.
Fuentes alleges that President Hernandez accepted bribes in exchange for protecting a cocaine laboratory and drug shipments headed towards the U.S. They say President Juan Orlando Hernández used his nation’s armed forces to protect huge shipments of cocaine in exchange for hefty bribes.
The case also alleges that Hernandez funneled aid money from the U.S. to non-governmental organizations.
Esto es un secreto a voces en nuestro país, pero esperamos que la justicia de USA lo juzgue porque aquí en el país el controla absolutamente todo!
The Honduran president isn’t explicitly named in the documents, but is instead referred to as “co-conspirator 4”. But the documents reference his political position as well as his relationship to his brother, Juan Antonio Hernández, who was also convicted of drug smuggling in 2019.
It’s worth mentioning that the 2019 case against Hernández’s brother also named President Hernández as a co-conspirator. That case alleged that President Hernández had accepted approximately $1 million in bribes from El Chapo.
President Hernández is denying the allegations and claiming that they are retaliations by cartel lords for his hardline stance against drug trafficking.
Recently, his office tweeted out: “The claim that Pres. Hernández supposedly accepted drug money from Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramirez, or gave protection or coordination to drug traffickers is 100% false, and appears to be based on lies of confessed criminals who seek revenge and to reduce their sentences.”
But at home, Hondurans seemed to have lost faith in their president. In fact, many are suspicious of his shady connections and seemingly never-ending scandals. Some Hondurans are reportedly worried that President Hernández may try to “illegally extend” his time in office in order to avoid prosecution by the United States”.
As of now, the prospects of him being prosecuted by the Trump administration are dubious at best.
All hondurans know that Juan Orlando Hernandez is a narco dictator, but he has Trump's protection
Once again, the year 2020 is delivering a shocker but this time it‘s in the form of devastation caused by a record-breaking hurricane season. So far, the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season, which is set to end on Nov. 30, has had 30 named storms, 13 of them hurricanes. And six of those hurricanes were considered “major”— Eta and Iota among them — meaning they were Category 3 or higher.
Meteorologists have been forced to use the Greek alphabet to name the new systems after having exhausted the 21-name list that is prepared for each hurricane season. The last time the Greek alphabet was used was in 2005, when there were 28 storms strong enough to be named.
Now, as Hurricane Iota ravages Central America, it’s becoming clear that an imminent humanitarian catastrophe is setting up across the region.
Hurricane Iota is ravaging Central America just two weeks after communities there were hit by Hurricane Eta.
Late on Monday, Hurricane Iota made landfall as a powerful and “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane. Aside form the catastrophic winds and life-threatening storm surge, the hurricane is impacting already devastated communities recently hit by Hurricane Eta.
People across Central America will feel the impacts of this record breaking storm, which is expected to produce up to 30 inches of rain in some areas of Nicaragua and Honduras through Friday. The intense rainfall could lead to significant flash flooding and mudslides in higher elevations, the hurricane center said.
Dozens of Indigenous communities were evacuated throughout the weekend in Nicaragua and Honduras, where the military shared pictures on Twitter of soldiers helping people out of stilted wooden homes and carrying them to safety. One of the soldiers stood in knee deep water, holding a resident’s pink backpack in the same arm as his service weapon.
The forecast, at least, offers some hope for those in Iota’s path. The National Hurricane Center expects the storm to rapidly weaken over the next 36 hours as it moves toward El Salvador across the mountainous terrain of inland Nicaragua and Honduras.
Honduras was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Eta.
Central America is still reeling from Hurricane Eta, which struck less than two weeks ago and made landfall about 15 miles from where Iota did. Aid workers are still struggling to reach communities cut off by washed-out bridges, downed trees and flooded roads.
According to the Red Cross, more than 3.6 million people across the region have been affected by the storms.
Antonio Herrera told Mitú in an interview that his modest home had already been reduced to rubble by Eta. Herrera and his daughter were staying in an improvised shelter but it’s directly in the path of Hurricane Iota. A GoFundMe has been setup to help Herrera and his family recover from the devastation wrought by both hurricanes.
“This Hurricane Iota is a monster,” he said. “After Eta and the damaged it caused, I’m afraid for all of us.”
Herrera added that even without a disaster devastating the region, Honduras is a country where half the population doesn’t have enough food to eat. And now, because of Hurricane Eta, Herrera counts himself among that group of Hondurans.
He adds that, “Honduras is a challenging place just to make sure that the everyday needs are met. And of course, all of this happening during a global pandemic — no possibility of social distancing, obviously, in those sheltering situations.”
Many Central American leaders are blaming climate change for the disasters and are seeking international aid.
As the region is pummeled by storm after storm, the leaders of Honduras and Guatemala have called for in increase in international funding to help combat the effects of climate change – which are having an outsized impact on the region.
“Central America is not the producer of this climate change situation,” the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, said at a news conference. “Instead, we are the most affected.”
President Orlando has called on the United Nations to declare Central America as the region most affected by climate change worldwide.
“Hunger, poverty and destruction do not have years to wait,” said Alejandro Giammattei, the Guatemalan leader. “If we don’t want to see hordes of Central Americans looking to go to countries with a better quality of life, we have to create walls of prosperity in Central America.”
Disclaimer: The author of this story has a personal connection with Antonio Herrera, a victim of these storms in Honduras mentioned in this story. The GoFundMe for Herrera was created before this story was written but was included as many GoFundMe fundraisers arewhen relevant.