Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Please, patients not profits


I know I can sound like a broken record sometimes (a very badly scratched record) but this stuff just really irks me. A new report came out recently that said Gilead, manufacturers of that ultra expensive Hepatitis C drug,

"The 18-month Senate committee investigation reviewed more than 20,000 pages of company documents.

Of course it takes a Senate committee...

'The documents show it was always Gilead’s plan to max out revenue, and that accessibility and affordability were pretty much an afterthought,' said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon, who co-led the investigation with Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, in a press conference.

Its all about the revenue. Their pricing strategy also caused patients in several areas of the country to be limited in their access to the potentially life saving medication because of the cost alone.

In a statement released Tuesday, Gilead disagreed with the conclusions of the report, saying that the price was ‘‘in line with previous standards of care.’’ The company noted that it has programs in place to help uninsured patients and those who need financial assistance to access the treatments. More than 600,000 patients around the world had been treated with Gilead’s hepatitis C drugs since 2013, according to the company." 

Of course they were not happy about criticism. And yes they have programs to help uninsured patients and ones in financial need. But maybe they wouldn't need such expansive programs if they hadn't priced it so high in the first place.

"The report suggests that the factors Gilead used to set its price were not based on the research and development needed to bring the drug to market, or on the $11.2 billion it paid for Pharmasset, the company that developed Sovaldi. Instead, Gilead executives looked at what previous treatments had cost and the effect of future waves of competition on the revenue it could bring in.

Instead of using their industry's standard line of the R&D to bring it to market, they decided to get as much money as they could and then set themselves up for future high priced medications.

‘‘Company officials surmised that its drug had a ‘value premium’ because of increased efficacy and tolerability, shorter treatment duration, and its potential to ultimately be part of an all-oral regimen,’’ the report states.

In its statement Tuesday the company said, ‘‘We stand behind the pricing of our therapies because of the benefit they bring to patients and the significant value they represent to payers, providers, and our entire health care system by reducing the long-term costs associated with managing chronic [hepatitis C virus].’’"

Admit nothing, deny everything. And screw the patients.

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