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Well it took $8.7 billion to build this drug (granted, most of that was for any viral genetic treatment, and so probably can be amortized in the future. I would point out that that doesn't change that that money was required to get to this treatment). How long until government university research amasses that kind of money ?

We all know the answer: more than a century.

And now you might say "yes, but half the research was done at universities". That's true, probably more than half, but a significant portion of that was still paid by Novartis. Furthermore Novartis helps professors coordinate, pays for conferences, ...

Novartis profit margin is about 20%. In their best years it was 30%. So even in a communist system, this drug would only be 20%-30% cheaper, and take another century before it became available. That would bring it from 1.2 million to, let's round off and say a million.

Would that solve your problem with this drug ?




I never actually said I had a problem with this drug or the price. (I do, but I never said that)

Imagine we live in a world where all drug research must be given away freely. Chances are private companies would no longer do the research, since any of their competitors could pick up the research and make it. In which case almost all funding for drug research would revert to universities and drug companies would simply be manufacturers, and would have to compete on manufacturing efficiency.

Now, we know that the 8 billion came from somewhere in our economy, so at this point it would be an academic exercise to figure out how to extract that from the economy and transfer it to universities to do the research.

What I'm saying is that we need to remove the profit motive in health care, because there is no elasticity in the market. People will pay infinity to keep living. There is no price point where someone says, "that's too much" when it comes to health care, so the market doesn't operate like any other.


It did not take $8.7B to develop this drug. Novartis paid that amount (a huge premium over what was expected) to purchase the company that actually did the work. As another poster has noted, if you include the cost of clinical trials this cost closer to $700M.

One can make various claims regarding what value private enterprise made in the process of getting this drug to market, but none of that value proposition was provided by Novartis. Novartis is just the one who saw something shiny and new and who (over)paid a ton of money to get the right to be the gatekeeper for this treatment and set the toll.




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