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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
    More: Interesting, hepatitis C, liver transplant, Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences, Henry Waxman, forensic biologist, patients, insurance companies  
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3157 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Apr 2014 at 1:59 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2014-04-02 02:52:33 PM  
6 votes:
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 01:28:13 PM  
5 votes:

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 12:56:44 PM  
4 votes:

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 12:56:33 PM  
4 votes:

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 12:49:51 PM  
4 votes:

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 12:41:36 PM  
4 votes:
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 02:11:31 PM  
3 votes:
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 01:52:13 PM  
3 votes:

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 12:49:59 PM  
3 votes:

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 03:06:27 PM  
2 votes:
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 02:45:36 PM  
2 votes:
PROTIP:  If you're in America, try not to get raped.

i.imgur.com
2014-04-02 02:29:43 PM  
2 votes:
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 02:23:46 PM  
2 votes:

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 02:20:43 PM  
2 votes:

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 02:17:17 PM  
2 votes:

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 02:15:06 PM  
2 votes:
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 12:27:22 PM  
2 votes:
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 07:45:54 PM  
1 vote:

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 05:03:51 PM  
1 vote:

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 04:33:10 PM  
1 vote:
It doesn't cost $1,000 per day. It's priced at $1,000 per day.
2014-04-02 03:23:13 PM  
1 vote:

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 03:12:18 PM  
1 vote:

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 03:10:45 PM  
1 vote:
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 03:09:44 PM  
1 vote:

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 02:58:26 PM  
1 vote:

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 02:56:42 PM  
1 vote:
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 02:50:46 PM  
1 vote:

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 02:39:57 PM  
1 vote:

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 02:34:47 PM  
1 vote:
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 02:27:23 PM  
1 vote:
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 02:15:46 PM  
1 vote:

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 02:03:49 PM  
1 vote:

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 12:59:07 PM  
1 vote:

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 12:53:14 PM  
1 vote:

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
 
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