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(NPR)   Remember, folks: Big pharmaceutical companies just want to help people. They're not trying to profit on illness, exploit people, or hurt the poor. So you should feel grateful for your $1000-per-pill Hepatitis C cure. Grateful, you got it?   (npr.org) divider line 148
    More: Sick, hepatitis C, drug companies, Business Wire, University of Liverpool, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Department of Pharmacology, liver cancers, pills  
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1957 clicks; posted to Business » on 30 Dec 2013 at 10:32 AM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-30 08:55:05 AM
Cure?!?!

Hell yeah I'd be grateful.

If I had Hep C
 
2013-12-30 08:56:39 AM
People seem to forget it takes years - sometimes decades - of research to develop these drugs, and those companies invest millions of dollars into that research. Then those drugs they develop are only allowed to be sold exclusively by said company for up to 20 years (if I recall correctly), before it can be sold by any pharma company in a generic form. The company that did all that development, research, and made the investment in getting that drug to market not only needs to recoup their substantial investment, but also see a profit, otherwise why should they develop these drugs in the first place?

Is this drug expensive? Yes, but not always. As a part of my medical plan, for example, if I needed this medication I would pay only a tiny fraction of the cost. My out-of-pocket expense would be the same as any medication I take, being $5 for a one month supply, or $10 for a 90 day supply. And my medical plan is far from the only one with this sort of benefit, it's actually pretty common with HMOs. So in the end, the only people who actually would have to pay this $1000/pill price would be someone without medical insurance (which if they are American makes one wonder why they aren't under an ACA plan), or with shiatty insurance. The point being that $1000-per-pill price tag is mentioned to shock people, but in many cases that is far from the actual price the patient actually pays.
 
2013-12-30 09:05:01 AM

MmmmBacon: for example, if I needed this medication I would pay only a tiny fraction of the cost. My out-of-pocket expense would be the same as any medication I take, being $5 for a one month supply, or $10 for a 90 day supply.


Yup. And since you only have to pay for that small portion, it means the rest of the cost just vanishes and no other part of the health care system anywhere has to absorb it. Which in turn means that health care costs in general are not affected in the slightest and everything functions smoothly like a very well lubed system in perfect harmony.
 
2013-12-30 09:06:35 AM
It's OK to make a profit.
It's not OK to drive a truckload of rip-off up a dying person's butt.
 
2013-12-30 09:14:28 AM
Yeah, and it's not like these companies artificially jack up the price of drugs that prevent premature birth after the government gives them a monopoly or anything.

/save me the poor companies funding R&D bullshiat
//if it's so expensive, let the public universities do it
///I don't see any of these CEOs starving for years at a time to fund their research
 
2013-12-30 09:14:48 AM

Pocket Ninja: MmmmBacon: for example, if I needed this medication I would pay only a tiny fraction of the cost. My out-of-pocket expense would be the same as any medication I take, being $5 for a one month supply, or $10 for a 90 day supply.

Yup. And since you only have to pay for that small portion, it means the rest of the cost just vanishes and no other part of the health care system anywhere has to absorb it. Which in turn means that health care costs in general are not affected in the slightest and everything functions smoothly like a very well lubed system in perfect harmony.


You know that isn't true, but it isn't as bad as it seems, either. Yes, my insurance pays more than that for the pills, of course they do. But they also negotiate a lower cost from the pharma company than what the pharma company would charge retail, because the insurance company buys in bulk. So again, it comes back to the pharma company needing to charge a ridiculous "per pill" retail price, that almost no one actually pays.

Insurance companies negotiate lower cost-per-pill
Pharmacies negotiate lower cost-per-pill
The government negotiates lower cost-per-pill

Unless you are walking in off the street with zero insurance and filling your prescription with a small pharmacy that is not part of a chain, there's no way you actually end up paying this price. Period. It is a scare tactic.
 
2013-12-30 09:18:32 AM
is it as long as its "the cure" that's reasonable
 
2013-12-30 10:02:23 AM

MmmmBacon: People seem to forget it takes years - sometimes decades - of research to develop these drugs, and those companies invest millions of dollars into that research. Then those drugs they develop are only allowed to be sold exclusively by said company for up to 20 years (if I recall correctly), before it can be sold by any pharma company in a generic form. The company that did all that development, research, and made the investment in getting that drug to market not only needs to recoup their substantial investment, but also see a profit, otherwise why should they develop these drugs in the first place?

Is this drug expensive? Yes, but not always. As a part of my medical plan, for example, if I needed this medication I would pay only a tiny fraction of the cost. My out-of-pocket expense would be the same as any medication I take, being $5 for a one month supply, or $10 for a 90 day supply. And my medical plan is far from the only one with this sort of benefit, it's actually pretty common with HMOs. So in the end, the only people who actually would have to pay this $1000/pill price would be someone without medical insurance (which if they are American makes one wonder why they aren't under an ACA plan), or with shiatty insurance. The point being that $1000-per-pill price tag is mentioned to shock people, but in many cases that is far from the actual price the patient actually pays.


The company that is charging $1000 / pill BOUGHT the company that developed the drug.  The developers have already been compensated for their research and investment.
 
2013-12-30 10:05:48 AM
The cash price is almost never the price the insurance company pays. All insurance companies negotiate much lower costs.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-12-30 10:07:55 AM

MmmmBacon: People seem to forget it takes years - sometimes decades - of research to develop these drugs, and those companies invest millions of dollars into that research. Then those drugs they develop are only allowed to be sold exclusively by said company for up to 20 years (if I recall correctly), before it can be sold by any pharma company in a generic form. The company that did all that development, research, and made the investment in getting that drug to market not only needs to recoup their substantial investment, but also see a profit, otherwise why should they develop these drugs in the first place?


Nice straw man, but the issue is no whether they should have a return on their investment, it's how large that return should be.

The problem is that investors don't want a fair return on their investment, they want all they can get.
 
2013-12-30 10:08:21 AM

Sliding Carp: The company that is charging $1000 / pill BOUGHT the company that developed the drug. The developers have already been compensated for their research and investment.


what?

So because the company was bought the cost of good sold disappeared?
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-12-30 10:12:34 AM

verbal_jizm: The cash price is almost never the price the insurance company pays. All insurance companies negotiate much lower costs.


Except that Social security is prohibited from doing that, because a certain industry hires lobbyists to make sure they can gouge Social Security.
 
2013-12-30 10:15:36 AM

vpb: Nice straw man, but the issue is no whether they should have a return on their investment, it's how large that return should be.

The problem is that investors don't want a fair return on their investment, they want all they can get.



And now we walk into the "what is fair" and "who defines what fair is".


And then we end up here:
img138.imageshack.us
 
2013-12-30 10:38:20 AM

vpb: verbal_jizm: The cash price is almost never the price the insurance company pays. All insurance companies negotiate much lower costs.

Except that Social security is prohibited from doing that, because a certain industry hires lobbyists to make sure they can gouge Social Security.


Medicare providers do negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. The link you posted argues that if all of Medicare negotiated collectively for lower prices, they'd have more leverage and be able to get an even better deal.

Whether or not that is true, it is disingenuous to suggest that Medicare is paying anywhere near sticker for drugs. The part D providers negotiate much lower prices.
 
2013-12-30 10:40:37 AM
A friend of mine recently retired from the drug industry.   His company made "orphan drugs" that nobody else would.  He said they kept one production line running to make a drug that keeps four people alive.
 
2013-12-30 10:47:39 AM
Sliding Carp: The company that is charging $1000 / pill BOUGHT the company that developed the drug.  The developers have already been compensated for their research and investment.

So they didn't do the R&D, but they (presumably) spent heaps of money to acquire the company that did.  Practically speaking, there's not much difference there.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-12-30 10:48:25 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: vpb: Nice straw man, but the issue is no whether they should have a return on their investment, it's how large that return should be.

The problem is that investors don't want a fair return on their investment, they want all they can get.


And now we walk into the "what is fair" and "who defines what fair is".



Yes, defining fair as anything pother than "as much as they can get away with" would be a difficult concept for conservatives.

I suspect that allowing Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate prices or prohibiting the charging of higher prices to individuals would be socialism to you, no?
 
2013-12-30 10:49:45 AM
I was listening to this story on the way into work

/the drug company spokesman basically said "we think this is what it's worth to the patient"
//how much for your life?
 
2013-12-30 11:00:41 AM
there market just in the US alone is 300 billion.   not counting any new infections (1x10^3)*(3x10^6)=3x10^9.

You can take your cost of development and production excuse and jam it up your asses.
I will personally steal your farking pattented drug and have it reverse engineered in and produced out of India then given away to the masses to see your firm die.
 
2013-12-30 11:01:08 AM
The French solved this problem

media.npr.org
 
2013-12-30 11:05:55 AM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: I was listening to this story on the way into work

/the drug company spokesman basically said "we think this is what it's worth to the patient"
//how much for your life?


I heard that too. If I recall correctly, they said that the cost of treatment with current drugs, which are barely effective, is about 3 times as much. I guess that's because it's longer term since it only manages the disease. This one actually cures. Permanently. I feel dirty for saying this, but I agree with Stealth Hippo. A cure is worth a lot of money to the sick guy.

Let the company enjoy some profit. They're selling a good product this time. If you want to bash Big Pharma, go after the marketing that pushes drugs that don't really work and have awful side-effects (the list is endless). They pay doctors to push them and spend tons on TV advertising, and it ends up making them a bundle while leaving patients more messed up in the long run.
 
2013-12-30 11:07:26 AM

MmmmBacon: The government negotiates lower cost-per-pill


Medicare part D makes it illegal for the government to negotiate for a lower cost.
 
2013-12-30 11:10:32 AM

MmmmBacon: he company that did all that development, research, and made the investment in getting that drug to market not only needs to recoup their substantial investment, but also see a profit, otherwise why should they develop these drugs in the first place?


These companies spend 2-3 times as much on advertising as they do on R&D.  R&D is a red herring.  It's a lot of money, but not as a portion of their total budget.
 
2013-12-30 11:13:28 AM
Remove patent protection and watch the prices tumble.

Stop restricting the supply of doctors and watch the prices tumble
 
2013-12-30 11:15:24 AM

voltOhm: is it as long as its "the cure" that's reasonable


I am with you here.  Are we talking $1000 and you no longer have hep C, or are we talking about a treatment that just keeps the symptoms at bay and now it costs you $1000 per week to stay alive?
 
2013-12-30 11:18:50 AM
Dnrtfa.

But 1000 bucks is pretty reasonable to CURE a non-bacterial std. I would pay cash for that in a heartbeat.

That said, given the amount pharm companies spend on advertising and doctor bribing, I have no sympathy for them at all. Further iirc they piggyback a lot of their r&d off of federally funded research anyways.
 
2013-12-30 11:20:50 AM
The drug sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi) will cost $1,000 per pill. A typical course of treatment will last 12 weeks and run $84,000, plus the cost of necessary companion drugs. Some patients may need treatment for twice as long.


Ok. That seems a tad much.
 
2013-12-30 11:20:54 AM

vpb: Yes, defining fair as anything pother than "as much as they can get away with" would be a difficult concept for conservatives


Well yes. Since I also believe that you should pay as little as you can get away with. You see I'm not a big fan of artifact floors and ceilings.


vpb: I suspect that allowing Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate prices or prohibiting the charging of higher prices to individuals would be socialism to you, no?


I'm super cool with negotiating prices. Now you'd have to flush exactly what you mean by prohibiting.
 
2013-12-30 11:21:08 AM

MrBallou: MaudlinMutantMollusk: I was listening to this story on the way into work

/the drug company spokesman basically said "we think this is what it's worth to the patient"
//how much for your life?

I heard that too. If I recall correctly, they said that the cost of treatment with current drugs, which are barely effective, is about 3 times as much. I guess that's because it's longer term since it only manages the disease. This one actually cures. Permanently. I feel dirty for saying this, but I agree with Stealth Hippo. A cure is worth a lot of money to the sick guy.

Let the company enjoy some profit. They're selling a good product this time. If you want to bash Big Pharma, go after the marketing that pushes drugs that don't really work and have awful side-effects (the list is endless). They pay doctors to push them and spend tons on TV advertising, and it ends up making them a bundle while leaving patients more messed up in the long run.


Yes and no. Intereferon is what he was most likely talking about. It's a vicious drug that used to be given as a 1 year protocol. The side effects were very painful and a lot of patients end up opiate dependant. It only has about a %40 success rate. After a long talk with my doc I decided this was not for me. There are a lot of other drugs that have hit the market in the last year or 2 that are taken with interferon that use a much shorter treatment and lower doses of interferon. Those cocktails are getting much better success rates without the severe side effects.

I am hopeful that I can get on a clinical trial for one of those. It's a little harder for me because I am a liver transplant survivor. That adds unknown risks. But I don't want to have a second transplant in the future so I am willing to roll the dice before my new liver gets trashed too.
 
2013-12-30 11:21:21 AM

Hyjamon: voltOhm: is it as long as its "the cure" that's reasonable

I am with you here.  Are we talking $1000 and you no longer have hep C, or are we talking about a treatment that just keeps the symptoms at bay and now it costs you $1000 per week to stay alive?


$1,000 per pill. Full cure course of treatment is a few weeks and costs something short of $100,000.
 
2013-12-30 11:22:28 AM

Hyjamon: I am with you here.  Are we talking $1000 and you no longer have hep C, or are we talking about a treatment that just keeps the symptoms at bay and now it costs you $1000 per week to stay alive?


84 Grand for the total course of treatment. How much does the pill cost to manufacture is the question?

MugzyBrown: Remove patent protection and watch the prices tumble.

Stop restricting the supply of doctors and watch the prices tumble


Open more medical schools in the United States and we can talk. As for number one, that's not a realistic solution.
 
2013-12-30 11:23:35 AM

Smackledorfer: Dnrtfa.

But 1000 bucks is pretty reasonable to CURE a non-bacterial std. I would pay cash for that in a heartbeat.

That said, given the amount pharm companies spend on advertising and doctor bribing, I have no sympathy for them at all. Further iirc they piggyback a lot of their r&d off of federally funded research anyways.


It's not a STD. The CDC doesn't even recommend condoms to prevent infection.
 
2013-12-30 11:29:44 AM

hardinparamedic: 84 Grand for the total course of treatment. How much does the pill cost to manufacture is the question?


Apparently only a few bucks. They're talking about providing a full course for "high hundreds" to "low thousands" in India and elsewhere.

There's no question they intend to make a huge profit in the US. The only question is whether that's moral or fair, relative to the rest of the US pharma and healthcare system.
 
2013-12-30 11:29:47 AM

sammyk: MmmmBacon: The government negotiates lower cost-per-pill

Medicare part D makes it illegal for the government to negotiate for a lower cost.


Nope. The Medicare part D providers do negotiate a lower cost.
 
2013-12-30 11:30:41 AM

Smackledorfer: Dnrtfa.

But 1000 bucks is pretty reasonable to CURE a non-bacterial std. I would pay cash for that in a heartbeat.

That said, given the amount pharm companies spend on advertising and doctor bribing, I have no sympathy for them at all. Further iirc they piggyback a lot of their r&d off of federally funded research anyways.


Hepatitis C is the one thing I'm terrified of as a healthcare provider. There is no vaccine, and it's virus is insanely survivable in a drop of blood. And it's chronic, and one of the most common causes offulminate liver failure today.

Forget HIV (insanely hard to get, even from a needlestick) or HepB (Vaccinated). This thing scares me.
 
2013-12-30 11:31:38 AM

MmmmBacon: People seem to forget it takes years - sometimes decades - of research to develop these drugs, and those companies invest millions of dollars into that research. Then those drugs they develop are only allowed to be sold exclusively by said company for up to 20 years (if I recall correctly), before it can be sold by any pharma company in a generic form. The company that did all that development, research, and made the investment in getting that drug to market not only needs to recoup their substantial investment, but also see a profit, otherwise why should they develop these drugs in the first place?

Is this drug expensive? Yes, but not always. As a part of my medical plan, for example, if I needed this medication I would pay only a tiny fraction of the cost. My out-of-pocket expense would be the same as any medication I take, being $5 for a one month supply, or $10 for a 90 day supply. And my medical plan is far from the only one with this sort of benefit, it's actually pretty common with HMOs. So in the end, the only people who actually would have to pay this $1000/pill price would be someone without medical insurance (which if they are American makes one wonder why they aren't under an ACA plan), or with shiatty insurance. The point being that $1000-per-pill price tag is mentioned to shock people, but in many cases that is far from the actual price the patient actually pays.


Ha ha. I worked at a pharma company. R&D and manufacturing was a small part of their expense. The rest of the money is overhead: lawyers, regulatory people, facilities (some of which are pretty fancy... Lots of waste there, too. Can't tell you how many pointless " office moves" me and my department have had to make over the years. You know the ones, and they are never cheap. Just one example.), marketing people, sales people, and, of course, the CEO takes his cut. Can't tell you how many useless project managers I have worked with. You can make obscene amounts of money in pharma if you have a little bit of knowledge and no soul*. FDA charges ridiculous fees, too.

*probably true in other industries

/cool story, bro
//worked with some damn awesome, talented people as well, don't get me wrong
 
2013-12-30 11:32:04 AM

MugzyBrown: Remove patent protection and watch the prices tumble.

Stop restricting the supply of doctors and watch the prices tumble


Remove patent protections, watch prices tumble, watch the number of new drugs developed tumble.

I guess that's okay, right? I mean we have enough drugs to do everything we want at this point. Who needs new drugs to be developed? We're healthy enough.
 
2013-12-30 11:35:16 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: Remove patent protections, watch prices tumble, watch the number of new drugs developed tumble.


Who are you that does not know his own history?

Really. Anyone who goes with the libertarian caveat emptor line of "remove patient protections" and oversight is either entirely historically ignorant of the reasons we have those protections, or in the pocket of someone who stands to make a lot of money selling snake oil.

www.ushistoryscene.com

upload.wikimedia.org

www.the-scientist.com
 
2013-12-30 11:36:42 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: Remove patent protections, watch prices tumble, watch the number of new drugs developed tumble.


Or not.. I mean the companies will still want to make money.
 
2013-12-30 11:53:15 AM

Smackledorfer: But 1000 bucks is pretty reasonable


It is. But a full course requires about $100,000.

So there.
 
2013-12-30 11:58:51 AM
But how much did the company spend, finding, testing and trials and FDA testing and approvals?
How much profit are they making for how many dollars and years investing to see that profit?
 
2013-12-30 12:00:33 PM

doglover: Smackledorfer: But 1000 bucks is pretty reasonable

It is. But a full course requires about $100,000.

So there.


A dnrtt-er lecturing me on my Boobies of a doublepost not containing correct information.

So there :p
 
2013-12-30 12:03:06 PM

sammyk: Smackledorfer: Dnrtfa.

But 1000 bucks is pretty reasonable to CURE a non-bacterial std. I would pay cash for that in a heartbeat.

That said, given the amount pharm companies spend on advertising and doctor bribing, I have no sympathy for them at all. Further iirc they piggyback a lot of their r&d off of federally funded research anyways.

It's not a STD. The CDC doesn't even recommend condoms to prevent infection.


Fair enough. Hepatitis websites say sexual transmission is a likely possibility given that over 10% of those who contract cannot trace it back to a needle or other blood possibility.

But it is tough either way, since large numbers can have it for years without knowing it.
 
2013-12-30 12:04:13 PM
Sucks for those people who don't have $100,000 lying around.

/at least it isn't socialism
 
2013-12-30 12:24:01 PM

Smackledorfer: A dnrtt-er lecturing me on my Boobies


I don't know what this is but whyboner.jpg.
 
2013-12-30 12:31:39 PM

hardinparamedic: Debeo Summa Credo: Remove patent protections, watch prices tumble, watch the number of new drugs developed tumble.

Who are you that does not know his own history?

Really. Anyone who goes with the libertarian caveat emptor line of "remove patient protections"


Patent.  The word was patent.
 
2013-12-30 12:32:20 PM

doglover: Smackledorfer: A dnrtt-er lecturing me on my Boobies

I don't know what this is but whyboner.jpg.


Hehe.

I meant had you read one inch further, you'd see I did get to the article in due time.

/all a matter of inches
 
2013-12-30 12:33:56 PM

MugzyBrown: Debeo Summa Credo: Remove patent protections, watch prices tumble, watch the number of new drugs developed tumble.

Or not.. I mean the companies will still want to make money.


Have fun trying to make money developing drugs when every drug you pay to develop gets made and sold by someone else who didn't have to pay for development.
 
2013-12-30 12:38:45 PM

IrishFarmer: So they didn't do the R&D, but they (presumably) spent heaps of money to acquire the company that did. Practically speaking, there's not much difference there.


Let's, for sake of argument, say that the cost of purchasing the company has already been recouped from sales of their other products gained in the purchase.

Their cost of making the drug, with all overhead taxes and shipping, is say $500.  Is it "fair" to charge $84,000?

This is the problem with the medical industry.  You have immoral sociopaths trolls like yourself willing to let people die just because it's "fair" to let someone make a LOT of money over it.

If I have a pill that costs me five cents to make and you need it to save your life, it's perfectly legal for me to demand all your money to give it to you.  But if I were to talk up to you with a gun and demand five dollars, I'd be spending years in jail.
 
2013-12-30 12:45:21 PM

thurstonxhowell: Have fun trying to make money developing drugs when every drug you pay to develop gets made and sold by someone else who didn't have to pay for development.


You assume there is no benefit to being first to market.  It's amazing other industries are able to deal with competition.
 
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