Wednesday, June 10, 2015

That proposed new cholesterol drug

No I don't have high cholesterol (one ailment that I do not have) but I have been reading the stories on the new recommended cholesterol drug. On one hand it makes sense that other cholesterol drugs are needed besides statins. Not everyone tolerates them, about 10% don't in fact. And some people have genetically high cholesterol.

Fine, I get it. But this new drug doesn't impress me. Why?
  1. Because it is an injection. 
  2. Because it is expensive.
I hate injections. My husband does my weekly methotrexate injection. It would be much easier if it was oral. Needles are a pain to deal with. And I hate needles. And disposing of them and getting shots and just icky poo!

Also, cost is a real issue.

"If the new drugs are approved, it is estimated they would cost between $7,000 and $12,000 a year per patient. In comparison, statins cost between $48 a year (for generic forms), up to between $500 and $7,000 a year (for brand-name drugs)."

That's a big increase. I realize that it won't be as cheap as a generic but what about developing an affordable medication? And an oral pill for $48 or one or twice monthly injection for $7000-$12000? Seriously?

However, "if we [balance] the cost of these drugs over society and the cost to our health care system for caring for patients who suffer the consequences of vascular disease," Antman said, "it's possible that the calculus would suggest this could be a cost effective and attractive approach.""

Blah, blah, blah. The cost to society? Sure. I get it but what about the cost to the patient? And why should that be part of the pricing equation? 

In a normal world, not biotech or pharma, pricing is done for a lot of different reasons. Everything from market placement ('if its expensive it must be good' is a real thought process) to basic cost and supply and demand. In the dream world of medication pricing, these basics are evidently thrown out the window. 

Anyway, I think I will consider new medications as news when they are affordably priced. And I need to stop whining about medical costs, I know but the whole issue just pisses me off. And if I whine about them, I can avoid thinking about my own medical crap.

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