Apparently the price is...whatever they think you, combined with your insurance company, can come up with.
While I understand innovation costs money, some of the pricing models around pharma is ridiculous.
To play devil's advocate here for a moment, the drug development and approval processes are crazy expensive, and the pharmacos basically charge what the market will bear for each product, and spread the revenue to all costs - not necessarily allocated by individual drugs. IOW, drug A costs a little and sells for a lot, drug B the reverse, but the total revenue covers the cost and some profit.
At least that's the argument the pharmacos make in public. If this situation is not as it should be, someone should articulate what's wrong and how to fix it. E.g. patients can't afford something they're dying without, but if the vendors are forced to discount for some drugs or some buyers, how is the whole business to be financed?
I can think of arguments for and against various possible reforms, but won't bore you here. We do need something more specific tho.
So I'm not sure what you're saying about the U.S. "model".
This is in contrast to e.g. the Scandinavian countries where you get treated whether you have an insurance or not, no matter what your income level is.
Those are two “models” of paying for your medicare, and I'm sure there are even other ways.
This drug really brings to focus the various issues and interests involved in developing new drugs. It's a better, cheaper treatment (that cures!) and still the price tag is easy to balk at.
As long as they can keep the list price high, they are ok with selling some units at production cost -- this prevents a major backlash based on a media report of a pretty young white girl dying because her disabled war veteran parents missed a payment. True, it is harder to get into these programs the less "sympathetic" your case would be to the media, and a lot of Hep C patients won't be. From what I've read it is actually easier to get the really expensive high margin drugs for nearly free than the moderately expensive ones.
Medicare/Medicaid would be the true payer for most poor people, though. (Meaning ultimately the taxpayer)
Very true. I'm more familiar with the the costs of Cystic Fibrosis medications, but those are similar to this. Most people with Cystic Fibrosis take medications that would total over $10k/month at full price. This is something they do every month because the disease is not curable. However, with insurance, numerous manufacturer "access programs", and numerous private assistance programs targeted at Cystic Fibrosis, most patients pay much much less, often under $1k/year in total. Depending on the combination of medications and programs, these programs may cover all medication costs entirely.
It's all based on how much you can pay. If you have a lot of money (you need to have well over $100k/year income to be disqualified from many of these access programs) and no insurance, you're going to pay a lot. Otherwise, not so much. I'm sure some people fall through the cracks, but there's a lot of options out there for paying for these types of expensive medications. The more expensive the medication, the more likely there are access programs or assistance programs and the more likely they will cover a larger portion of the cost.
Happy, no question. Medicine this effective doesn't come along often and bodes very well in two ways:
(1) a treatment that works but is expensive today will continue to work but be vastly cheaper within a decade.
(2) the fact that a real cure exists for this disease suggests we may knock out cures for other "incurable" diseases in the future.
All: Also, please don't editorialize titles. It's against the site guidelines.
Brazil's Article 71 eventually led to TRIPS Article 27 § 2 and § 3(a), which affirm the rights of WTO member nations to exclude medical patents from protection; and Article 31, which allows for what has become known as "compulsory licensing" -- use of a patent without the consent of the patent holder.
It's been a pretty effective club for developing nations to wield against pharmas, as drug companies know that if they don't provide or license their meds at favorable terms the states can just start manufacturing them without consent.
The flip side, of course, is that the pharmas end up wanting to increase the pricing in developed nations, because the healthcare markets (especially in the US) can bear much higher costs. That's why Gilead is charging $900 for an HCV cure in Egypt (which has horrifically high rates of HCV infection), and almost $90K for it in the US.
Now, there's a lot of drug coming online for HCV over the next few years, but right now Gilead has the market to itself and, at current pricing, it's basically a $1 trillion market in the US, EU and Japan. Gilead paid about $11b for Pharmasset (the drug developers) and needs to recoup its investment, so aggressive pricing in the developed world is unsurprising, if distressing.
This is why I'd like all medical research to be public.
No gang of government bureaucrats will produce the same results at a lower cost than lots of people with the profit motive
Patently untrue. By definition, a profit motive means that the costs aren't the lowest possible, because they include a markup for profits (or contrapositively, they cut corners to reduce expenses).
Theres a rather popular blog about one dude's struggles with Hep C, and hes been through a Sofosbuvir+GS-5816 trial, but otherwise has been fighting Hep-C with a high fat no grain diet: http://hopefulgeranium.blogspot.com/
Edit: Don't know why people are downvoting me. I'm not even going to hazard a guess on this one. Its a rather scientific blog that frequently links to studies being done on Hep-C, ran by a guy that has Hep-C, and I've been following it for over a year.
A diet could possibly wipe out HepC, but there's no research showing that it is possible. At best, the current state of research is that diet could minimize the progression of HepC, which is definitely not "more than any drug ever would."