Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The High Price of Specialty Drugs: Whining Won't Solve the Problem!

Today’s Managing Health Care Costs Number is $311,000

Source   (BOB= Book of Business)

An editorial in today’s JAMA decries the price of the orphan drug Ivacaftor (Kalydeco), a product of Vertex Pharmaceuticals for cystic fibrosis patients who carry a specific mutation.   The price is $311,000 – although some patients could pay as much as $373,000. The drug would be taken for decades.

The drug was developed after researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health, identified the genetic defect. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation gave Vertex and its predecessor company $75 million in research funding, and allowed it access to its therapeutics development network to speed the trials that gained it FDA approval.

The authors say “pharmaceutical companies have an implicit obligation to put patient well-being and resource utilization on an equal footing with return on investment” and “the pharmaceutical industry and its financial backers should seek to consider both financial return and social good, embracing the tenet of social justice.   They also call for transparency in pricing.  To continue reading click here...

About the Author
Jeff Levin-Scherz is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. He is the Chief Medical Officer at One Medical, an innovative and growing primary care practice currently in San Francisco, New York and Washington DC. 

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