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(The Wire)   Great news: there is a new drug on the market that cures 95% of Hepatitis C patients, saving them from liver transplants or liver cancer. Not-so-great news: it costs $1,000 a day and has to be taken for 12 weeks   (thewire.com) divider line 117
    More: Interesting, hepatitis C, liver transplant, Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences, Henry Waxman, forensic biologist, patients, insurance companies  
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3108 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Apr 2014 at 1:59 PM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



117 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-04-02 12:27:22 PM
Yeah, I recently had a scary false positive Hep C test, and my doctors were planning on putting me on this.  The side effects are also a bit scary.

Good thing, I've had two clean tests since then, so yeah, don't need to do this.
 
2014-04-02 12:41:36 PM
Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.
 
2014-04-02 12:49:51 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.


My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this.   Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is,  Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.

And before you start screaming "socialism"   and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"
 
2014-04-02 12:49:59 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.


If your numbers are correct, you are justified. How much did it cost to develop from chemistry to clinical trials?
 
2014-04-02 12:53:14 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.


Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years
 
2014-04-02 12:56:33 PM

Magorn: My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this. Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is, Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.

And before you start screaming "socialism" and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"


That would be highly entertaining to watch.  I'd love hear the media tell everyone how unfair it is for a company to not get $83,000 of profit from a drug treatment.

b2theory: How much did it cost to develop from chemistry to clinical trials?


My guess would be the same as most other drugs.  But development cost is unimportant.  There's lots of opportunities for price gouging, with companies buying up "orphan" drugs and quadrupling the price overnight.

It's all about charging the absolute most that the market will bear.  Never mind that these are sick people, they have to pay.  And if they can't pay, then they'll just die.  That's the American way.
 
2014-04-02 12:56:44 PM

Banned on the Run: Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.

Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years


In the exact same way that the Lord of the Rings and the Titanic "didn't make a profit" despite grossing more than $1 billion worldwide and costing about $200 million to make.  Which is to say only if you buy the patently absurd accounting drug companies use and which costs the ascribe to a particular drug (like charging the entire R&D budget to its most sucessful drug)
 
2014-04-02 12:58:36 PM
CHEEBURGERCHEEBURGERCHEEBURGER.

NO HEP-C - ONLY COKE!
 
2014-04-02 12:59:07 PM

Banned on the Run: Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years


Sure they will.  The profits will just be written down against "development costs", so that they don't show a profit on paper and will therefore not owe any taxes on it.

And how do you figure I hate corporations?  I practically am one.
 
2014-04-02 01:16:47 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Magorn: My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this. Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is, Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.

And before you start screaming "socialism" and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"

That would be highly entertaining to watch.  I'd love hear the media tell everyone how unfair it is for a company to not get $83,000 of profit from a drug treatment.

b2theory: How much did it cost to develop from chemistry to clinical trials?

My guess would be the same as most other drugs.  But development cost is unimportant.  There's lots of opportunities for price gouging, with companies buying up "orphan" drugs and quadrupling the price overnight.

It's all about charging the absolute most that the market will bear.  Never mind that these are sick people, they have to pay.  And if they can't pay, then they'll just die.  That's the American way.


True. It sucks when you apply a profit margin to life saving products.
 
2014-04-02 01:28:13 PM

b2theory: It sucks when you apply a profit margin to life saving products.


That is why most industrialized nations have had the good sense to socialize medicine.
 
2014-04-02 01:52:13 PM

Magorn: My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this.


The Paris convention allows compulsory licensing for patents, but leaves it up to the legislature of each country to implement. I know in certain countries, for example, Thailand, the patents for various antiretroviral drugs for HIV were made available under a compulsory licensing so that Thai companies can manufacture HIV medication while paying only a relatively low statutory license. As I recall, the HIV and AIDS epidemic was so bad in Thailand that the government declared that HIV medication are under compulsory licensing as a matter of public health and safety.
 
2014-04-02 01:55:05 PM

Marcus Aurelius: And how do you figure I hate corporations? I practically am one.


If you think progressive taxation and social services are good  for the economy a real merkin would say you hate corporations.
 
2014-04-02 02:03:38 PM
I was told there'd be no math.
 
2014-04-02 02:03:49 PM

SphericalTime: Yeah, I recently had a scary false positive Hep C test, and my doctors were planning on putting me on this.  The side effects are also a bit scary.


Compared to the side effects of peg-interferon, it's a picnic.
 
2014-04-02 02:07:00 PM
Seriously, who cares what it costs if it'll save your life? That's what health insurance is for.
 
2014-04-02 02:09:07 PM
Well, thank God for Obamacare.
 
2014-04-02 02:09:13 PM
Big Pharma creates a drug to save lives and is vastly cheaper and safer than a liver transplant, and they are Evil. Can someone tell me how that works?
 
2014-04-02 02:09:20 PM

b2theory: Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.

If your numbers are correct, you are justified. How much did it cost to develop from chemistry to clinical trials?


How much of the chemistry was based off knowledge gained from research funded by public grants?
 
2014-04-02 02:10:35 PM
Real News: It probably costs under $1 per dose when made in million-dose batches.  Real farkedup News: The company doesn't make much money when they make million-dose batches.
 
2014-04-02 02:11:31 PM
The pricing on this is claimed to be $85,000 in order to recoup the $11 Billion purchase price of the distribution rights from the patent from the developing laboratory.

However that only takes ~135,000 treatments to pay that $11 Billion investment.
There are more than 65 Million Hepatitus C suferers in the world, and at this distributor's current pricing for the US market, it would take $4.5 Trillion to cure them all.

I'm sure glad, aspirin, the polio, MMR, and other vaccines/treatments/procedures that we've had for about 60 years, wasn't distributed this way.
Hopefully they'll go to the AIDS/HIV treatment capacity quickly and for $0.40 a day, they can treat and cure Hep C, and take pride in knowing that they have the capacity to make another one of the devastating diseases of the world go the way of Small Pox.
 
2014-04-02 02:13:32 PM

Magorn: Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.

My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this.   Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is,  Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.

And before you start screaming "socialism"   and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"


Destroy the Republicans big pharma buddies and the entire need for the big govt Democrat entitlement programs for medicine in one fell swoop?

Are you mad sir? The establishment would see to it that you never got past a grassy knoll if you was in charge and tried such a thing.
 
2014-04-02 02:15:06 PM
It doesn't cost $1000, they want $1000 because the American healthcare system is a huge money sink that idiots are willing to feed.
 
2014-04-02 02:15:17 PM

Acravius: The pricing on this is claimed to be $85,000 in order to recoup the $11 Billion purchase price of the distribution rights from the patent from the developing laboratory.

However that only takes ~135,000 treatments to pay that $11 Billion investment.
There are more than 65 Million Hepatitus C suferers in the world, and at this distributor's current pricing for the US market, it would take $4.5 Trillion to cure them all.

I'm sure glad, aspirin, the polio, MMR, and other vaccines/treatments/procedures that we've had for about 60 years, wasn't distributed this way.
Hopefully they'll go to the AIDS/HIV treatment capacity quickly and for $0.40 a day, they can treat and cure Hep C, and take pride in knowing that they have the capacity to make another one of the devastating diseases of the world go the way of Small Pox.


I would love to have your optimism.
 
2014-04-02 02:15:46 PM

Magorn: And before you start screaming "socialism"   and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"


I had one of my patents abused by the US Navy - my patent lawyer found it.

We honestly believe they did not know (many times an invention is created at the same time by people who are unaware)  But I was first.It did not need to go to court, they happily paid for my patent and I had a fantastic year proudly knowing my technology was being used.

The navy handled it very professionally, I was very happy.
 
2014-04-02 02:17:17 PM

Lucky LaRue: Big Pharma creates a drug to save lives and is vastly cheaper and safer than a liver transplant, and they are Evil. Can someone tell me how that works?


They are "evil" beause they created it with a ton of suuport of the govt, non of which is paid back if the drug is profitable (you know that whole privitize profit, socialize risk).

They are evil because the price isn't based on any real costs, but on how much they can squeeze.

That help?
 
2014-04-02 02:17:53 PM
I'm pretty sure a liver transplant and/or treatment for liver cancer would cost many times more than $85K.  This seems to be cheaper, just not a whole lot cheaper.

Of course, it's cheapest to just not get HepC, so eat clean food and don't have sex with sick people.
 
2014-04-02 02:20:19 PM

SphericalTime: Yeah, I recently had a scary false positive Hep C test, and my doctors were planning on putting me on this.  The side effects are also a bit scary.

Good thing, I've had two clean tests since then, so yeah, don't need to do this.


For what I know (not much) only a few ways to get Hep C and they're all blood based:  Blood transfusion prior to 1992 (blood was not checked for Hep C prior to this), sharing of needles, non-sterile tattoo equipment and having sex (anal or vaginal) when blood is involved.
 
2014-04-02 02:20:43 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.


Pharmaceutical shill here. Yeah, it might cost $1 for the raw ingredients to make the pill, but there are other costs. Like the wages of the people who press the tablets, the clean room that the tablets are made in, the wages of the researchers who figured out the treatment was going to work, the clinical and safety studies that needed to be performed. The quality testing, the IT guy that maintains the servers. All of that is overhead and labor. What about the salaries of regulatory people who process the paperwork to get it approved with the FDA. What about marketing? Should pharmaceuticals be barred from advertising?

How much do you think cars could be sold for if the car manufacturers didn't have to spend money on safety tests?
Do you think car companies are acting ethically by pulling in profits after inflating car prices because of their bloated advertising budgets?

I don't like that these drugs cost thousands either, and I, like you, would really like to see socialized medicine happen. But don't pretend that pharmaceuticals manufacture these drugs on the cheap in order to maximize profits. Because if you think that's unethical, you should take a closer look at supplement companies, who are not subject to nearly the same scrutiny and regulations that pharmaceuticals are.
 
2014-04-02 02:22:14 PM
FTA: Waxman also tackles the socioeconomic role of hepatitis C: "Because Hepatitis C is 'concentrated in low-income, minority patients,'

Not so much any more.  From what I understand 1 in 5 baby boomers have this disease.  They are pretty vocal and if AARP gets into this there will be a helluva fight.
 
2014-04-02 02:23:46 PM

pippi longstocking: It doesn't cost $1000, they want $1000 because the American healthcare system is a huge money sink that idiots are willing to feed.


Blue Cross will haggle them down. $1000 will be the sticker price.
//I had a surgery recently. The sticker price was $200k, Blue Cross paid about $70k and I paid just over $2k.
///Not only is the American health care system a huge pot of money but it is not clearly priced out.
 
2014-04-02 02:27:23 PM
This is hilarious to me because this medication is a legitimate breakthrough in comparison to standard treatment.  For once this is not an incremental improvement or "me-too" drug, and people are saying "profiteering", "socialize it", "let a jury decide".

This is an example where the pharmaceutical company actually deserves the money - they cured something, and not some orphan disease but a widespread one.  Let them have the year before a competitor starts to drive the price down... they have less than 20 before it goes generic.  This slow speed in price reduction is the cost required for ensuring safety (5-8 years of expensive clinical trials) and innovation.
 
2014-04-02 02:29:08 PM
So in other words, it's significantly less expensive than a transplant?
 
2014-04-02 02:29:22 PM

liam76: Lucky LaRue: Big Pharma creates a drug to save lives and is vastly cheaper and safer than a liver transplant, and they are Evil. Can someone tell me how that works?

They are "evil" beause they created it with a ton of suuport of the govt, non of which is paid back if the drug is profitable (you know that whole privitize profit, socialize risk).

They are evil because the price isn't based on any real costs, but on how much they can squeeze.

That help?


Nope. How much did the research cost? How much support (if any) did they get from the gov? How many other lines of research never paid off, and how are they supposed to finance those if not through this? Drug design is not sure thing, so the price of those drugs that make it to market is dependent on a lot more than raw materials and assembly. Trying to make a profit isn't evil, and in the end it's all that keeps money pumping into new drug development.

that said, the price is still crazy high and I find it immensely entertaining that everyone is siding with the insurance companies
 
2014-04-02 02:29:43 PM
If a nonprofit organization made these drugs, the cost wouldn't be much lower. >_>

Development cost DOES matter. Drugs are hard as fark to make, because for all science has discovered about how the human body works, there's a hell of a lot more we don't know about it. A lot of drugs fail during the clinical trials because, despite working on rats (the next-best thing to primates, evolutionarily speaking) or cell cultures, there's a big enough difference between those and an entire human that they suddenly don't meet the FDA's safety and/or efficacy standards when applied to the humans -- and if the FDA says they can't sell a drug, then they can't sell a drug (the bar is lower for drugs that treat/cure things with little or no treatments/cures, mind you).

So you have all these failed drugs that you spent a buttload of money on, and once in a while you find a good one, one that works. What do you do? Even if you're a nonprofit organization and just want to break even, you still want to make up for all the development costs -- not just of that drug, but of all the ones that didn't pan out.

What's more, there's a finite amount of time you can make significant money off that pill, because of patents -- a blessing and a curse for both the sick and the corporations alike. They grant a legal monopoly on that drug, but for a finite amount of time. One of the requirements for filing a patent is that you have to give a pretty good description of how to make the thing, so the moment it wears off, everyone else can start making and selling it -- including the generic drug companies that spend little or no money making new drugs, and thus can afford to sell them at low prices (they might have an R&D budget for making the drugs more efficiently, though).

So not only do you need to recover those development costs before you can make a profit (or break even), but you have a finite amount of time (still a fairly long time, though. How long do drug patents last? 20 years?), so you jack the price way up. It's unfortunate for the people who need the drugs, but almost everything I've said would apply to a government-run or nonprofit drug company as much as they would a for-profit one.

Changing who's in charge won't fix the system. Improving our medical knowledge will. The problems don't lie in profiteering corporations, they lie in the fact that we don't have a way to efficiently find cures yet. For all we've learned about the human body, we know jack shiat about the compared to how much we could potentially know, and much of drug discovery consists of reasonably-educated shots in the dark.


You want to make a difference? Get some kind of biochemistry degree. Discover a new protein. Figure out what it does, how it interacts, what inhibits it. Or look at some old protein and discover things about it nobody knew before, or discover a more effective way to simulate a person for drug testing. Add to the sum of human knowledge. Every little bit helps.
 
2014-04-02 02:30:50 PM
How much does this drug cost outside the US?  I am reminded of a recent case where a woman was billed $80,000 for two doses of scorpion antivenom, which it turned out could be purchased in pharmacies in Mexico for a mere $100 per dose.
 
2014-04-02 02:31:20 PM
This is good news for people who eat at restaurants in NYC.
 
2014-04-02 02:34:47 PM
papafree

The first AIDS/HIV cocktails were 20K per monthly treatment dose, that's what the movie Dallas Buyer's Club was all about, and at the time they could be gotten more cheaply in Mexico. Now the improved cocktail is being sold to developing nations at $0.40/day to keep people "below detectable levels"

I don't have a problem with a corporation making profit, but the cost of producing the entire 85 day treatment regimin is only $3.60 in material costs. They are charging $85,000 per treatment cycle.
They only need ~135,000 people treated to recoup their investment and there are 65 Million potential patients.
Even if they charged $1,000 per 85 day treatment cycle they would still have an approximate ~6 times ROI of their $11 Billion distribution right package cost.

That is what is so disgraceful about this story.
 
2014-04-02 02:39:33 PM
Love living in Canada where costs such as these are of little concern. :-D
 
2014-04-02 02:39:57 PM

Acravius: They only need ~135,000 people treated to recoup their investment and there are 65 Million potential patients.


It's not just about recouping the costs of that drug in particular, it's about recouping the costs of other drugs they've worked on in the past and/or will work on in the future. Some drug labs don't find a single drug between foundation and closure. You make the most of what you can, when you can, so you can afford to fail later.
 
2014-04-02 02:45:36 PM
PROTIP:  If you're in America, try not to get raped.

i.imgur.com
 
2014-04-02 02:45:53 PM
According to these guys: http://www.transplantliving.org/before-the-transplant/financing-a-tra n splant/the-costs/  a liver transplant will end up costing upwards of $500k. Sounds like a pretty decent deal overall.
 
2014-04-02 02:46:09 PM
I would have sold myself into slavery to pay for this if it came a couple years earlier.


/miss my sister
 
2014-04-02 02:47:50 PM
This will end once we nationalize the pharmaceutical industry.  Then everything they develop will be free! Even the unicorn tear extract.
 
2014-04-02 02:49:33 PM

Magorn: Banned on the Run: Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.

Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years

In the exact same way that the Lord of the Rings and the Titanic "didn't make a profit" despite grossing more than $1 billion worldwide and costing about $200 million to make.  Which is to say only if you buy the patently absurd accounting drug companies use and which costs the ascribe to a particular drug (like charging the entire R&D budget to its most sucessful drug)


Sometimes you have to do this.  In my past life I performed reverse engineering on mechanical industrial equipment.  Each reverse engineering cost roughly $50,000.  Our sales hit rate was somewhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 15.  That means for each project we won, we had to tack on between $500k and $750k.  Typical project sales prices were around $5m to $8m (depending on size and scope).  If we had bad luck and the hit rate went down, it ate into the bottom line- our competitors were also selling projects for $5m to $8m so we couldn't just jack up the price.

Pharmaceutical companies have this problem too.  The difference being they can generally charge whatever they want and cover their costs, so they should always make a profit.  Doesn't mean though that you can just ignore all the development costs for drugs which didn't make the cut.
 
2014-04-02 02:49:49 PM
img.fark.net
 
2014-04-02 02:50:46 PM

Robin Hoodie: Nope


Brilliant rebuttal, allow me to rebut, yep.


http://plaza.ufl.edu/rmelk/BestofBME/Publications/uneasyall.pdf 30% of the money for trials comes from the NIH.
That doesn't event ake itno accoutn all the research funded by the govt, non of which is repaid when these companies get a winner.

Robin Hoodie: How much did the research cost? How much support (if any) did they get from the gov?


http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1008268

Read up on it.


In this case the company didn't do the research, they bought out the rights for 11billion (non of which was paid tot h govt who, once again contributed to the research).

As many people have pointed out they could charge 1k per 85 day treatment and make back 6x the cost of the drug.

this is a disgraceful money grab that makes things more costly fro sick people, how you fail to see it as evil is beyond me.


Robin Hoodie: Trying to make a profit isn't evil, and in the end it's all that keeps money pumping into new drug development


I never said making a profit is evil, they cousl make a lot of profit without pricing it so high, it is evil to price it just to the point where it is cheaper than a liver transplant.
 
2014-04-02 02:52:33 PM
I guess what needs to be reiterated is that Gilead Sciences didn't develop the drug.

Gilead Sciences paid $11 Billion to a small research laboratory for the DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS.

So the laboratory was paid for their Patent, all of the cost was apparently covered by the $11 Billion.

The cost per 85 day dose is $3.60 for materials.

The 85,000 dollar price tag recompensates Gilead Sciences their investment in ~135,000 doses including packaging, labor and everything else.

There are ~65 Million Hepatitus C suferers in the world today.

To break even, Gilead Sciences could price the drug at ~$160 per 85 day prescription, and at ~$260 they would still make roughly 6.5 Billion dollars in profit.

That is why the $85,000 price tag is so galling for this instance of corporate greed.

Ag
 
2014-04-02 02:53:57 PM

Skail: b2theory: Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.

If your numbers are correct, you are justified. How much did it cost to develop from chemistry to clinical trials?

How much of the chemistry was based off knowledge gained from research funded by public grants?


And how much did you chip into the stage 3 trials? Quit using this stupid argument that completely ignores the biggest cost factor
 
2014-04-02 02:56:42 PM
All well and good until the AARPers scream about it, or developers in one of those "Dot-head"istan countries synthesize it for less than 10 cents a dose, the U.S. sues over it, trying to maintain the "innovation charge" for developing it. THen it's fungible from there.dilbert.com
Roughly the same kind of comparison.
 
2014-04-02 02:57:06 PM

Wolf892: Love living in Canada where costs such as these are of little concern. :-D


Don't be so cocky... my Wife needed a medication that was to treat a condition it was not approved for(even though it is approved in other countries) and she was close to having to pay the $4000/month for it.  Fortunately some damn good doctors fought the system and got it for her.

This drug would first need to be approved and funded, potential taking money away form other treatments.  So we would all benefit from a reasonable price, not just Americans and their messed up system.
 
2014-04-02 02:58:26 PM

Acravius: That is why the $85,000 price tag is so galling for this instance of corporate greed.


Thanks for breaking this down so clearly.


YOu can be fine with corporate proficts and find this deeply morally offensive.
 
2014-04-02 03:02:35 PM

Acravius: papafree

The first AIDS/HIV cocktails were 20K per monthly treatment dose, that's what the movie Dallas Buyer's Club was all about, and at the time they could be gotten more cheaply in Mexico. Now the improved cocktail is being sold to developing nations at $0.40/day to keep people "below detectable levels"

I don't have a problem with a corporation making profit, but the cost of producing the entire 85 day treatment regimin is only $3.60 in material costs. They are charging $85,000 per treatment cycle.
They only need ~135,000 people treated to recoup their investment and there are 65 Million potential patients.
Even if they charged $1,000 per 85 day treatment cycle they would still have an approximate ~6 times ROI of their $11 Billion distribution right package cost.

That is what is so disgraceful about this story.


THIS
 
2014-04-02 03:04:42 PM

SphericalTime: Yeah, I recently had a scary false positive Hep C test, and my doctors were planning on putting me on this.  The side effects are also a bit scary.

Good thing, I've had two clean tests since then, so yeah, don't need to do this.


I start next week.

/already feel like shiat
//but better than death, I suppose
///went through Hep B in '94
 
2014-04-02 03:06:27 PM
I'll throw in my CSB.  Two years ago my father was treated for prostate cancer.  Detected very early, did not require chemo or radiation.  He had cryo-surgery and a 1 night hospital stay.  Just one of the shots he received before the surgery "cost" $1400.  He had already reached his out-of-pocket deductible and paid nothing.  The insurance company paid about $500 if memory serves.  The rest of the balance just disappeared into an accounting black hole, presumably.

The medical care crisis in the US is not that too many people are uninsured, it's that hospitals, pharma companies, and insurance are all operating on a for-profit basis, and in the case of pharma and insurance (and many hospitals) must answer to utterly rapacious shareholders and senior boards.  It's a 3-way collision at full speed.  Especially since these three sectors can only maximize their profits by screwing each other.

It's not going to get better any time soon because the so-called "Affordable Care Act" doesn't actually do anything to control costs.  It just makes everyone ante into this utterly corrupt system.
 
2014-04-02 03:07:36 PM
Good, now I won't have to wear a rubber if I ever get the chance to bang Pamela Anderson.
 
2014-04-02 03:07:41 PM
Cases like this make me think it'd be a good idea to allow medical exemptions for patents.  Basically an entity is allowed to claim use of another entity's patent for medical reasons, and must pay use fees to the patent holder.  By introducing an element of competition it's likely to limit some of the more outrageous price gouging, while still retaining the incentive to own the patent.
 
2014-04-02 03:08:07 PM

Marcus Aurelius: b2theory: It sucks when you apply a profit margin to life saving products.

That is why most industrialized nations have had the good sense to socialize medicine.


How many miracle drugs like this have they produced?

It would be interesting to see a list of the biggest pharma companies not counting their US sales.
 
2014-04-02 03:09:44 PM

monoski: pippi longstocking: It doesn't cost $1000, they want $1000 because the American healthcare system is a huge money sink that idiots are willing to feed.

Blue Cross will haggle them down. $1000 will be the sticker price.
//I had a surgery recently. The sticker price was $200k, Blue Cross paid about $70k and I paid just over $2k.
///Not only is the American health care system a huge pot of money but it is not clearly priced out.


Pretty much this. Drug pricing in the US is completely impenetrable, because each insurance company negotiates its own rates. Gilead is just starting the bidding at 84k, none of the big companies will pay close to that. Of course, for Medicare, who can't legally haggle with them, this is a problem. I imagine that's why the outraged quote in the article is from a guy whose company manages state Medicare plans. The Brits are the example of the right way to handle drug pricing. When an expensive drug gets approval, they have an independent body review it's cost effectiveness based on how much extra quality of life and time of life it adds and it's cost. If it doesn't meet their standard (which isn't exact, but is something like 30,000 pounds per quality adjusted year of life), they deny the drug listing in the British National Formulary, meaning that it's still legal but the NHS won't pay for it. As a result, prices for new drugs in the UK are something like 50% of what they are in the states.
 
2014-04-02 03:10:05 PM
Do you get a discount if you throw in one of your kidney's?
 
2014-04-02 03:10:45 PM
Have the - I don't care that it cost 10 billion to research and develop it should be given away at 5 cents a pill and FREE to those who post the best sob story on the internet -  people come out yet? Those people are funny.
 
2014-04-02 03:10:54 PM
Will the 5% that can't be cured evolve into a super Hepatitis?
 
2014-04-02 03:12:18 PM

Magorn: My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this.   Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is,  Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.

And before you start screaming "socialism"   and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"


Magorn, I had exactly the same thought.  Especially, in an instance where it was likely a grant from the govt, or govt funded research that leads to a breakthrough on a drug like this.

And, as you pointed out that this practice is not all that uncommon when it comes to patents and the military.  (Where not only do they "sieze" the patent, but they pull the entire patent application from the records to keep the contents "secret" thus denying the inventor any profits, but puts them under a secrecy order not to disclose or discuss the patentable material with anyone without govt approval.)
 
2014-04-02 03:13:54 PM
It's not often where I hope both sides lose. Although it's quite fun watching one set of greedy bastards get mad at another set of greedy bastards.

/But then I'm too poor to be sick.
 
2014-04-02 03:15:19 PM

papafree: Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.

Pharmaceutical shill here. Yeah, it might cost $1 for the raw ingredients to make the pill, but there are other costs. Like the wages of the people who press the tablets, the clean room that the tablets are made in, the wages of the researchers who figured out the treatment was going to work, the clinical and safety studies that needed to be performed. The quality testing, the IT guy that maintains the servers. All of that is overhead and labor. What about the salaries of regulatory people who process the paperwork to get it approved with the FDA. What about marketing? Should pharmaceuticals be barred from advertising?

How much do you think cars could be sold for if the car manufacturers didn't have to spend money on safety tests?
Do you think car companies are acting ethically by pulling in profits after inflating car prices because of their bloated advertising budgets?

I don't like that these drugs cost thousands either, and I, like you, would really like to see socialized medicine happen. But don't pretend that pharmaceuticals manufacture these drugs on the cheap in order to maximize profits. Because if you think that's unethical, you should take a closer look at supplement companies, who are not subject to nearly the same scrutiny and regulations that pharmaceuticals are.



HA HA HA, like this drug would be available to anyone but your new political gods under socialized medicine. First of all it would never have been developed, but under the insane fantasy it would of been developed under socialized medicine that it would be available to the little people, lol.
 
2014-04-02 03:17:15 PM

Acravius: I'm sure glad, aspirin, the polio, MMR, and other vaccines/treatments/procedures that we've had for about 60 years, wasn't distributed this way.
Hopefully they'll go to the AIDS/HIV treatment capacity quickly and for $0.40 a day, they can treat and cure Hep C, and take pride in knowing that they have the capacity to make another one of the devastating diseases of the world go the way of Small Pox.


My knowledge of Hep-C is limited, but wouldn't purging it from the 65 million odd people in the US then eliminate it basically at that point from being transmitted into other people? (At least in the US unless outsiders bring it in)
 
2014-04-02 03:17:59 PM

zero7717: If a nonprofit organization made these drugs, the cost wouldn't be much lower. >_>

Development cost DOES matter. Drugs are hard as fark to make, because for all science has discovered about how the human body works, there's a hell of a lot more we don't know about it. A lot of drugs fail during the clinical trials because, despite working on rats (the next-best thing to primates, evolutionarily speaking) or cell cultures, there's a big enough difference between those and an entire human that they suddenly don't meet the FDA's safety and/or efficacy standards when applied to the humans -- and if the FDA says they can't sell a drug, then they can't sell a drug (the bar is lower for drugs that treat/cure things with little or no treatments/cures, mind you).

So you have all these failed drugs that you spent a buttload of money on, and once in a while you find a good one, one that works. What do you do? Even if you're a nonprofit organization and just want to break even, you still want to make up for all the development costs -- not just of that drug, but of all the ones that didn't pan out.

What's more, there's a finite amount of time you can make significant money off that pill, because of patents -- a blessing and a curse for both the sick and the corporations alike. They grant a legal monopoly on that drug, but for a finite amount of time. One of the requirements for filing a patent is that you have to give a pretty good description of how to make the thing, so the moment it wears off, everyone else can start making and selling it -- including the generic drug companies that spend little or no money making new drugs, and thus can afford to sell them at low prices (they might have an R&D budget for making the drugs more efficiently, though).

So not only do you need to recover those development costs before you can make a profit (or break even), but you have a finite amount of time (still a fairly long time, though. How long do drug patents last? 20 years?), ...


But they HAD no development costs, they BOUGHT it from the lab that did and that purchase price set the market.  And I would be very curious to know how much of the foundational research foe this drug was conducted by a publicly-funded university or under a grant from HHS?
 
2014-04-02 03:23:13 PM

cchris_39: How many miracle drugs like this have they produced?


Just in the US alone:

Altogether, they gave 75 PSRIs (public sector research institution) credit for inventing 153 new drugs that won FDA approval from 1970 to 2009. The NIH was responsible for 22 of the drugs on that list, and the University of California system came in second with 11. Rounding out the top five PSRIs were Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York with eight, Emory University in Atlanta with seven, and Yale University in New Haven, Conn., with six. Virtually half of the new drugs were developed for treating cancer or infectious disease.

And these weren't just run-of-the-mill drugs - they were important ones. For instance, 46% of the drugs developed by PSRIs got priority reviews from the FDA (an indication that they offered a substantial improvement over existing treatments), compared with 20% of the drugs from the private sector.

In addition, the researchers wrote, "Virtually all the important, innovative vaccines that have been introduced during the past 25 years have been created by PSRIs."

Public research institutions were also particularly good at identifying new uses for existing drugs. From 1990 to 2007, the FDA approved only 10 such requests; nine of them originated in PSRIs, according to the study.

Overall, the team concluded, "PSRIs tend to discover drugs that are expected to have a disproportionately important clinical effect."


http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/10/news/la-heb-drug-development -t axpayers-20110210
 
2014-04-02 03:25:59 PM
KellyX

If all 65 Million people were treated, the chance of reinfection would go down to nearly 0,
Hep C is primarily spread through blood contact

Here is some more information from the CDC about exposure and infection risks:

http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/c/cfaq.htm
 
2014-04-02 03:28:27 PM

Acravius: KellyX

If all 65 Million people were treated, the chance of reinfection would go down to nearly 0,
Hep C is primarily spread through blood contact

Here is some more information from the CDC about exposure and infection risks:

http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/c/cfaq.htm


So basically they could in theory eradicate this disease from the world if they gave a shiat?
 
2014-04-02 03:32:02 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Magorn: My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this. Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is, Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.

And before you start screaming "socialism" and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"

That would be highly entertaining to watch.  I'd love hear the media tell everyone how unfair it is for a company to not get $83,000 of profit from a drug treatment.

b2theory: How much did it cost to develop from chemistry to clinical trials?

My guess would be the same as most other drugs.  But development cost is unimportant.  There's lots of opportunities for price gouging, with companies buying up "orphan" drugs and quadrupling the price overnight.

It's all about charging the absolute most that the market will bear.  Never mind that these are sick people, they have to pay.  And if they can't pay, then they'll just die.  That's the American way.


So your guess is as much as other drugs? How much is that? You can't just look at the manufacturing cost once all the R&D is done. Hell at that point the drug company would lose money.

Also what is the cost of a liver transplant? Much more cost effective at $83k a pop than the cost of a transplant. Also much easier to ramp up production of the pills than it is liver doners.
 
2014-04-02 03:33:06 PM

Magorn: zero7717: If a nonprofit organization made these drugs, the cost wouldn't be much lower. >_>

Development cost DOES matter. Drugs are hard as fark to make, because for all science has discovered about how the human body works, there's a hell of a lot more we don't know about it. A lot of drugs fail during the clinical trials because, despite working on rats (the next-best thing to primates, evolutionarily speaking) or cell cultures, there's a big enough difference between those and an entire human that they suddenly don't meet the FDA's safety and/or efficacy standards when applied to the humans -- and if the FDA says they can't sell a drug, then they can't sell a drug (the bar is lower for drugs that treat/cure things with little or no treatments/cures, mind you).

So you have all these failed drugs that you spent a buttload of money on, and once in a while you find a good one, one that works. What do you do? Even if you're a nonprofit organization and just want to break even, you still want to make up for all the development costs -- not just of that drug, but of all the ones that didn't pan out.

What's more, there's a finite amount of time you can make significant money off that pill, because of patents -- a blessing and a curse for both the sick and the corporations alike. They grant a legal monopoly on that drug, but for a finite amount of time. One of the requirements for filing a patent is that you have to give a pretty good description of how to make the thing, so the moment it wears off, everyone else can start making and selling it -- including the generic drug companies that spend little or no money making new drugs, and thus can afford to sell them at low prices (they might have an R&D budget for making the drugs more efficiently, though).

So not only do you need to recover those development costs before you can make a profit (or break even), but you have a finite amount of time (still a fairly long time, though. How long do drug patents last? 20 ...


Stage 2 and Stage 3 trials as well as ramping up mass production/quality assurance are part of development cost contrary to whatever stupid derp you're trying to push
 
2014-04-02 03:33:56 PM
Only $1000 a pill?  Chump change.
 
2014-04-02 03:34:11 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.


This is a good argument for looking at how medicine patents work.

Without the profit incentive, companies wouldn't do any research. But surely a state actor could decide how much of a profit is acceptable, or needed, for that incentive to exist.
 
2014-04-02 03:35:45 PM
Let's try this again.

firstworldfacts.com

This is of interset to me.
 
2014-04-02 03:41:44 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs


Truly the Jonas Salks of their day.
 
2014-04-02 03:43:50 PM

flynn80: Will the 5% that can't be cured evolve into a super Hepatitis?


I'd make super sure not to swap superfluids with them.
 
2014-04-02 03:45:24 PM
KellyX

If they aggressively treated everyone, they would get a 95% cure rate, which would still leave 1.3 million infected/infectious, worldwide.

However if those remaining people did not infect others, then within 40 years, Hepatitus C would be reduced to a frozen lab sample for the most part.
 
2014-04-02 03:52:42 PM

Banned on the Run: Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.

Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years


Maybe as a society we shouldn't be looking to profit centers for life saving drugs.
 
2014-04-02 03:55:10 PM

Magorn: My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this. Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is, Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.

And before you start screaming "socialism" and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"


As patents are merely creatures of statute, Congress totally could so this.  The trick is I think most of the major manufacturers would flee the fark out of the US is the congress actually started doing the moral thing, so they don't.
 
2014-04-02 04:00:25 PM

Teiritzamna: Magorn: My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this. Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is, Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.

And before you start screaming "socialism" and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"

As patents are merely creatures of statute, Congress totally could so this.  The trick is I think most of the major manufacturers would flee the fark out of the US is the congress actually started doing the moral thing, so they don't.


And go where? India and Africa basically do this already, and Europe has a very low tolerance for profiteering Shenanigans and in China or Russia the government's response to creating a drug like this would be *yoink*
 
2014-04-02 04:07:47 PM

Banned on the Run: Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.

Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years


Sorry to burst your bubble, but it did not cost more than $5 billion to develop the product, which is the low estimate for how much they will make this year off the product.
 
2014-04-02 04:12:36 PM
None of these drugs ever cost that much. Most of the business expenses of pharmaceutical companies are marketing NOT R&D.

So all that money went to 15 levels of useless managers and several thousand sales reps that are paid big money to show their tits to doctors.

Capitalism doesn't belong in medicine.
 
2014-04-02 04:20:39 PM

Banned on the Run: Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years


The question is:  should they try to recoup their money in 5 years or 20?  I'm sure they'll end up making a profit, but to do so in the short term by bankrupting people facing a liver transplant (and a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs) or death is simply immoral.  Take the long view and more people will win.

Frankly, I'm surprised insurance companies haven't stepped up to demand lower drug costs, or at least footing much of the bill.  After all, they stand to lose big on the transplant/drug regimen as well.
 
2014-04-02 04:21:15 PM
Drug cartels are jealous.  Careful they don't decide to come take your recipe from you.
 
2014-04-02 04:23:04 PM

Magorn: And go where? India and Africa basically do this already, and Europe has a very low tolerance for profiteering Shenanigans and in China or Russia the government's response to creating a drug like this would be *yoink*


Well that's my point.  Many of these drug giants stay here because our protections are far sweeter than the deals they can get abroad.  If the US catches up to the moral rules of the rest of the world, why would they stay?
 
2014-04-02 04:27:38 PM

indy_kid: Banned on the Run: Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years

The question is:  should they try to recoup their money in 5 years or 20?  I'm sure they'll end up making a profit, but to do so in the short term by bankrupting people facing a liver transplant (and a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs) or death is simply immoral.  Take the long view and more people will win.

Frankly, I'm surprised insurance companies haven't stepped up to demand lower drug costs, or at least footing much of the bill.  After all, they stand to lose big on the transplant/drug regimen as well.


Who said 5. If the cost to buy the patent was 11b, and cost of production is $1, and they are planning to make 5b a year, or atleast at the start this year, they will have it paid back in slightly over 2 years.
 
2014-04-02 04:31:23 PM
I have little problems with this and if our patent system worked properly, this company would be able to reap fantastic profits for 7 years for putting out the research and risk of developing and an entirely new and incredibly effective drug to treat a life threatening disease for less cost than surgery.  Furthermore, if our patent system worked right, 7 years from now, others could make it and future generations could have this drug be a fraction of the cost (like any other normal product where the price is competitively priced based on costs and demand).

My problem is 7 years from now, this company will add a new molecule to the drug that has no benefit whatsoever in an attempt to extend the patent.  That is wrong and should be stopped.
 
2014-04-02 04:33:10 PM
It doesn't cost $1,000 per day. It's priced at $1,000 per day.
 
2014-04-02 04:37:05 PM

Acravius: papafree

The first AIDS/HIV cocktails were 20K per monthly treatment dose, that's what the movie Dallas Buyer's Club was all about, and at the time they could be gotten more cheaply in Mexico. Now the improved cocktail is being sold to developing nations at $0.40/day to keep people "below detectable levels"

I don't have a problem with a corporation making profit, but the cost of producing the entire 85 day treatment regimin is only $3.60 in material costs. They are charging $85,000 per treatment cycle.
They only need ~135,000 people treated to recoup their investment and there are 65 Million potential patients.
Even if they charged $1,000 per 85 day treatment cycle they would still have an approximate ~6 times ROI of their $11 Billion distribution right package cost.

That is what is so disgraceful about this story.


The problem with Dallas Buyer's Club is that Ron Woodruff got really, really lucky. What if the the drug he brought into the US caused brain damage or liver failure and 3/4 of the people he distributed it to died? He could have turned out to be a pariah, a disgrace in the eyes of the law for selling a drug that killed a bunch of people because he was ignorant to its side effects.
 
2014-04-02 04:41:27 PM

Teiritzamna: Magorn: And go where? India and Africa basically do this already, and Europe has a very low tolerance for profiteering Shenanigans and in China or Russia the government's response to creating a drug like this would be *yoink*

Well that's my point.  Many of these drug giants stay here because our protections are far sweeter than the deals they can get abroad.  If the US catches up to the moral rules of the rest of the world, why would they stay?


Actually you have no point (assuming you aren't a paid shill for Bayer)

6 of the Top 10 companies are European: Bayer AG, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Hoffmann-La Roche & AstraZeneca

All you would do is turn the US into some shiathole like India, put millions of people out of work, kill millions more and line the pockets of European companies since Pfizer & Johnson would no longer have any patent protection

 
2014-04-02 04:42:24 PM
How much did it cost to develop and get the drug approved?
 
2014-04-02 04:50:49 PM
How about a twist on the concept of eminent domain. Government forces the developer to accept "fair market value" for the patent. Lets say, triple the cost of R&D (much of which may have been subsidized by the govenrment anyway). Then licences the patent to generic manufacturers in the name of public safety.

Every Hep-C positive person who gets no treatment poses some risk to the health of the population in general, so it's a no-brainer. I would suggest this approach only for contagious diseases, not for everything.
 
2014-04-02 04:56:22 PM
The Smut Peddlers song immediately comes to mind- Rebatron Party-great band/song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA3i9VAly-U
 
2014-04-02 05:01:46 PM
Development costs matter, but what should also matter is how much of that was paid for by the US taxpayer and for a lot of these drugs there is a significant contribution from the government and so we should all reap the rewards of either lower cost drugs or a fraction of the profits.
 
2014-04-02 05:03:51 PM

papafree: The problem with Dallas Buyer's Club is that Ron Woodruff got really, really lucky. What if the the drug he brought into the US caused brain damage or liver failure and 3/4 of the people he distributed it to died? He could have turned out to be a pariah, a disgrace in the eyes of the law for selling a drug that killed a bunch of people because he was ignorant to its side effects


And the probability of that happening is?  Just because a pharmacy is in another country doesn't mean that it can't be trusted.  If they're selling bad medicine, their local customers are going to figure it out pretty quick.

Anyway, I've got no problem with a company selling their new drug for $1000/day.  It's something that didn't exist yesterday, so either you keep doing what you did yesterday, or you pay the price.  And if no one buys it?  They'll drop the price.  And in 18 years (which admittedly sounds like a long time if you've got Hep C today) it'll be public domain.  Unlike copyrights, patents expire in a reasonable time frame.  I fully expect the price of this to come down in a couple of years after they milk everyone who is especially desperate for it, or as soon as something better comes along.

Now, if Sovaldi was getting any government subsidies for developing this, I might change my stance a bit, but I'm totally ok with this as I understand the facts.
 
2014-04-02 05:13:53 PM

thaylin: indy_kid: Banned on the Run: Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years

The question is:  should they try to recoup their money in 5 years or 20?  I'm sure they'll end up making a profit, but to do so in the short term by bankrupting people facing a liver transplant (and a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs) or death is simply immoral.  Take the long view and more people will win.

Frankly, I'm surprised insurance companies haven't stepped up to demand lower drug costs, or at least footing much of the bill.  After all, they stand to lose big on the transplant/drug regimen as well.

Who said 5. If the cost to buy the patent was 11b, and cost of production is $1, and they are planning to make 5b a year, or atleast at the start this year, they will have it paid back in slightly over 2 years.


The usual argument is that for every successful drug that goes to market there are many, many failed drugs and countless amounts of dead-end research to fund. Personally I kind of buy it but I have good insurance.

/I'm on Budesonide which IIRC retails for $16/pill
 
2014-04-02 05:14:28 PM

Cold_Sassy: Well, thank God for Obamacare.


image.legios.org
 
2014-04-02 05:24:18 PM

Jument: thaylin: indy_kid: Banned on the Run: Sorry to burst your corporation hate bubble, but they won't be making a profit for years

The question is:  should they try to recoup their money in 5 years or 20?  I'm sure they'll end up making a profit, but to do so in the short term by bankrupting people facing a liver transplant (and a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs) or death is simply immoral.  Take the long view and more people will win.

Frankly, I'm surprised insurance companies haven't stepped up to demand lower drug costs, or at least footing much of the bill.  After all, they stand to lose big on the transplant/drug regimen as well.

Who said 5. If the cost to buy the patent was 11b, and cost of production is $1, and they are planning to make 5b a year, or atleast at the start this year, they will have it paid back in slightly over 2 years.

The usual argument is that for every successful drug that goes to market there are many, many failed drugs and countless amounts of dead-end research to fund. Personally I kind of buy it but I have good insurance.

/I'm on Budesonide which IIRC retails for $16/pill


Except they bought the patent of an already researched drug, they did not take that risk here.
 
2014-04-02 05:25:33 PM
Does the treatment involve blending up the 1,000$ a day and injecting straight into your veins?

surprised nobodies said that yet.

for real though, as appalling as this blatant money grab is, it's not entirely their fault. The whole medical system in the states is corrupt and benefits no-one except the suits lining their pockets. They are pricing it so high because they know the end cost is going to be negotiated down by upwards of 70% by the insurance companies. If they were to price it at 300$, the patent would expire before they turned a profit.

Sh*t, look at anti-venoms. In the stars it's 10's of thousands of dollars per vial. By the time it's actually paid, it's down to a couple thousand at most. If you walk across the border into Mexico, the same anti-venom, made in the same lab is a couple hundred. It's the disgusting nature of the beast here in the US. It's not going to change unless the culture changes. Doctors and pharmacists used to work together for the greater good, then they started needing funding, so they found investors, those investors couldn't care less about the human cost.
 
2014-04-02 05:26:39 PM
It doesn't cost $1000 per day, that's just what they're charging for it. If I were a hep C case, I'd be genuinely inclined to rob a hospital/pharmacy, and the pharmaceutical company would be responsible.
 
2014-04-02 06:01:32 PM
If Washington really cared about providing affordable healthcare for the masses, this would be the best place to start, but they don't, and they wont.  They just want us to think they do.
 
2014-04-02 06:05:02 PM
liam76: Robin Hoodie: Nope

Brilliant rebuttal, allow me to rebut, yep.


Thanks!

In this case the company didn't do the research, they bought out the rights for 11billion (non of which was paid tot h govt who, once again contributed to the research).

Government research grants are weird right? It's almost like they aren't loans or something. Also, it worth noting the difference between discovering a drug and developing it. Pharmasset discovered the drug. Gilead bought them out in 2011, and financed the rest of the development, which was by no means a sure thing.

As many people have pointed out they could charge 1k per 85 day treatment and make back 6x the cost of the drug.

this is a disgraceful money grab that makes things more costly fro sick people, how you fail to see it as evil is beyond me.


let's see, 3,200,000 americans with chronic Hep-C (according to Rep Waxman), $11 billion purchase in 2011 with magic cash on hand (so we don't feel quite so bad ignoring interest), years of FDA testing (let's just assume that this is for free, too, because magic) and assuming we can make enough of this product for the 3.2 mil people before another drug comes out that's even cheaper. All gilead needs to do is sell it for $3,500 per course to break even! What a relief that they don't have any other drugs to develop.  http://www.gilead.com/research/pipeline

Robin Hoodie: Trying to make a profit isn't evil, and in the end it's all that keeps money pumping into new drug development

I never said making a profit is evil, they cousl make a lot of profit without pricing it so high, it is evil to price it just to the point where it is cheaper than a liver transplant.


That's not evil, that's just business. I could kind of see your point if they didn't reduce the price for the tens of millions who suffer from the disease elsewhere, but they do.  http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/gilead-local-generic-pl a yers-in-talks-to-bring-hepatitis-c-drug-into-india/article5649841.ece   So are you one of those 1%ers who doesn't want to help pay for the poor and downtrodden of the world, or what?
 
2014-04-02 06:56:03 PM
Why? Because FARK YOU, that's why!
 
2014-04-02 06:57:17 PM

Magorn: My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this. Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is, Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.

And before you start screaming "socialism" and "Would destroy the incentive to innovate" please keep in mind that the US defense Department has been doing this for YEARS, essentially seizing patents they want (or just ignoring them) in the name of "national security"


Those were my exact thoughts when I heard about this drug.
 
2014-04-02 07:11:29 PM

KellyX: Acravius: KellyX

If all 65 Million people were treated, the chance of reinfection would go down to nearly 0,
Hep C is primarily spread through blood contact

Here is some more information from the CDC about exposure and infection risks:

http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/c/cfaq.htm

So basically they could in theory eradicate this disease from the world if they gave a shiat?


Yea,

Like we have eliminated Measles, Mumps, and countless other things that are still around.
Also, many of those infected are drug users that won't seek medical treatment until way to late.
 
2014-04-02 07:45:54 PM

Marcus Aurelius: In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture. They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral. But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.


It's not the cost to manufacture, it's the cost to develop.

Magorn: My lawyer brain wonders why if we can use eminent domain to seize some poor schlub's house to make way for a freeway bypass because that's "for the public good" why we couldn' also do that to the patent on a drug like this. Let a jury decide what "just compensation and "Fair market value" for the patent is, Let the fed gov pay them in a lump sum and then turn the damn thing into a generic that costs $2 per pill.


Yeah, there are times that I think this would be the proper course of action.  The question comes down to what a fair price is, though.

zero7717: So not only do you need to recover those development costs before you can make a profit (or break even), but you have a finite amount of time (still a fairly long time, though. How long do drug patents last? 20 years?), so you jack the price way up. It's unfortunate for the people who need the drugs, but almost everything I've said would apply to a government-run or nonprofit drug company as much as they would a for-profit one.


No.  Patents last 20 years but you don't get anything like 20 years because the clock starts on that patent long before you can bring the drug to market.  Having only 10 years left on it when you hit market isn't unusual.

Acravius: I guess what needs to be reiterated is that Gilead Sciences didn't develop the drug.

Gilead Sciences paid $11 Billion to a small research laboratory for the DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS.

So the laboratory was paid for their Patent, all of the cost was apparently covered by the $11 Billion.

The cost per 85 day dose is $3.60 for materials.

The 85,000 dollar price tag recompensates Gilead Sciences their investment in ~135,000 doses including packaging, labor and everything else.

There are ~65 Million Hepatitus C suferers in the world today.

To break even, Gilead Sciences could price the drug at ~$160 per 85 day prescription, and at ~$260 they would still make roughly 6.5 Billion dollars in profit.

That is why the $85,000 price tag is so galling for this instance of corporate greed.


If you could somehow get all 65 million sufferers to buy it.  You won't come anywhere close to that.

And you're neglecting the people involved.  And you're neglecting the lawsuits.  And you're neglecting the interest--they'll need at least 50% more to pay back that money over the life of the patent.

Teiritzamna: As patents are merely creatures of statute, Congress totally could so this. The trick is I think most of the major manufacturers would flee the fark out of the US is the congress actually started doing the moral thing, so they don't.


So stealing is moral??

indy_kid: The question is: should they try to recoup their money in 5 years or 20? I'm sure they'll end up making a profit, but to do so in the short term by bankrupting people facing a liver transplant (and a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs) or death is simply immoral. Take the long view and more people will win.

Frankly, I'm surprised insurance companies haven't stepped up to demand lower drug costs, or at least footing much of the bill. After all, they stand to lose big on the transplant/drug regimen as well.


After the patent runs out they have no chance to recoup their money.  Thus 20 years isn't even an option.

CivicMindedFive: My problem is 7 years from now, this company will add a new molecule to the drug that has no benefit whatsoever in an attempt to extend the patent. That is wrong and should be stopped.


Actually, it's no big deal.  Doing this doesn't take away the old drug, if the new one isn't superior the doctors have no reason to prescribe it over the old one.

Barnstormer: How about a twist on the concept of eminent domain. Government forces the developer to accept "fair market value" for the patent. Lets say, triple the cost of R&D (much of which may have been subsidized by the govenrment anyway). Then licences the patent to generic manufacturers in the name of public safety.


Triple the R&D isn't enough--you also have to cover all the drugs that don't pan out.
 
2014-04-02 08:32:56 PM
I did a 6 month series of Interfuron 10 years ago.  The costs at the time were really high, but not a grand a day.  Both the drug company and the government stepped up to help with the cost.
 
2014-04-02 09:11:52 PM
Maybe we should pull an India tell them to shove their patent and make it anyway for cheap or just give it away.
 
2014-04-02 11:07:59 PM
Loren:

It's not the cost to manufacture, it's the cost to develop.

In this case the cost to develop was minimal, they bought it off someone else, and was able to fast track it through the FDA

No.  Patents last 20 years but you don't get anything like 20 years because the clock starts on that patent long before you can bring the drug to market.  Having only 10 years left on it when you hit market isn't unusual.

Actually more like 15 years, so much closer tot he full time limit. The patent was published, meaning the clock started in 2k8, the drug released 5 years later.

If you could somehow get all 65 million sufferers to buy it.  You won't come anywhere close to that.

And you're neglecting the people involved.  And you're neglecting the lawsuits.  And you're neglecting the interest--they'll need at least 50% more to pay back that money over the life of the patent.


You are straying off the field of fact into assumptions. First over 15 years 65m people are not that hard to get. The number of people with the illness is not going to go down, it is going to go up, and with universal health care more people will want it..

In addition most companies like this dont pay interest in these cases, they typically have backers who front the money for stock, and even if they did pay interest it is typically much lower then you are making it out to be.


After the patent runs out they have no chance to recoup their money.  Thus 20 years isn't even an option.

That is the silliest logic I have heard, they can still recoup money, maybe at a slower rate, but they will still make money off the drug.


Actually, it's no big deal.  Doing this doesn't take away the old drug, if the new one isn't superior the doctors have no reason to prescribe it over the old one.


Again, incorrect assumption. In cases like this you can actually extend a patent, not just get a new one on a new drug,  http://thinkpatient.com/pharmaceutical-patent-extension-strategies/

Triple the R&D isn't enough--you also have to cover all the drugs that don't pan out.

Triple the R&D is enough, you dont have to cover all the drugs that dont pan out, and in any case they are typically weeded out early enough that the costs are minimal on them.
 
2014-04-03 12:19:40 AM
Good thing 0bamacare will get repealed after the next election.
 
2014-04-03 02:54:43 AM

Marcus Aurelius: Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "Critics have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs

In other words, it doesn't matter that it only costs them $1 per pill to manufacture.  They get to price it at the same cost as a liver transplant.

This is perfectly legal, of course, even if it is utterly immoral.  But reeling in $83,000 of profit on every patient sure does assuage one's conscience, if one has one left after this kind of profiteering.


One day the world is going to find out there cures to cancer, diabetes, aids, hep, etc are just sitting in a vault somewhere tucked away because "curing" anything isn't profitable so long as some greedy pharm phark can instead devise a ridiculous drug or treatment to keep people alive and ailing (and paying) forever.
 
2014-04-03 03:16:15 AM

you_idiot: Seriously, who cares what it costs if it'll save your life? That's what health insurance is for.


Not sure if serious...but just in case you are...

One of my cancer drugs was $1000 per month out of my pocket AFTER insurance paid their portion. Think about that for a minute.

(And no it didn't cure me...I'm stage IV, so cannot be cured). I don't know what the answer is, but holy fark, a serious illness, not even "terminal," but serious, can bankrupt you. Not to mention what happens if you're legitimately disabled by the disease and can't work.

Those short term and long term disability plans via an employer suck too. For me to be eligible for LTD, I would basically need to fit the definition of someone either fully paralyzed or actively dying. Short term would only last 11 weeks. So, if you get sick relatively young, you're just screwed.
 
2014-04-03 06:22:43 AM

Wolf892: Love living in Canada where costs such as these are of little concern. :-D


It's not always the case, even here in Canada - my MIL would have died if she didn't have better (more extensive and higher value) medical coverage thru her work. She got an infection of some sort while recuperating from breast cancer, and the cost of the medication was so high (don't recall actual figures atm) and the regimen so long that the regular MSP wouldn't have covered it, and she would have died of the infection as it wasn't treatable by anything else.

For this reason, I do love working in the non-profit, social service industry where they preach "Self-care" and sometimes actually provide the tools like good health care benefits to their employees (I work at a youth centre for street kids, my husband works at a homeless shelter, and MIL was working with some other type of non-profit for wee chilluns).

/Yes, an anecdote is not a fact - of this I am aware.
 
2014-04-03 08:46:03 AM

Robin Hoodie: Government research grants are weird right? It's almost like they aren't loans or something.


I never said they are loans.

I am popinting out the absurdity of these companies and people like you who defend them crying about the cost as an excuse to exact their pound of flesh, and them ignoring how much of it we already pay for.


Robin Hoodie: $11 billion purchase in 2011 with magic cash on hand (so we don't feel quite so bad ignoring interest), years of FDA testing (let's just assume that this is for free, too, because magic)


I guess leaving out the interest is a big no-no, but ignoring the amount that govt pays for basic research and trials is A-ok?

I am reading you loud and clear. When a business relies on govt funding to come up with new products you are A-ok with them squeezing as much blood as they can from people.


Robin Hoodie: That's not evil, that's just business.


You are wrong on the first point, it is evil. Unfortunately you are correct in the US, it is just business. LArgely because peopel like you are ok with corporations raping people.

Robin Hoodie: . I could kind of see your point if they didn't reduce the price for the tens of millions who suffer from the disease elsewhere, but they do.


The price is reduced solely so they don;t have to worry about generic knock-offs or the next cheaper option, not theough concern about quality of life or altruism. And let me guess you think corporations shouldn't have to do that, yet also think they have the same rights as people.
 
2014-04-03 09:42:38 AM

Loren: So stealing is moral??


Dude, can you read?  I indicated that patents are creatures of statute.  Meaning that they only exist as a form of property because Congress wills it to be so.  If Congress changed that statute, it would, by definition, not be stealing.
 
2014-04-03 04:25:22 PM

Robin Hoodie: liam76: Lucky LaRue: Big Pharma creates a drug to save lives and is vastly cheaper and safer than a liver transplant, and they are Evil. Can someone tell me how that works?

They are "evil" beause they created it with a ton of suuport of the govt, non of which is paid back if the drug is profitable (you know that whole privitize profit, socialize risk).

They are evil because the price isn't based on any real costs, but on how much they can squeeze.

That help?

Nope. How much did the research cost? How much support (if any) did they get from the gov? How many other lines of research never paid off, and how are they supposed to finance those if not through this? Drug design is not sure thing, so the price of those drugs that make it to market is dependent on a lot more than raw materials and assembly. Trying to make a profit isn't evil, and in the end it's all that keeps money pumping into new drug development.

that said, the price is still crazy high and I find it immensely entertaining that everyone is siding with the insurance companies


Who do you think the insurance companies will ultimately pass on those costs to?
 
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