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Monday, January 18, 2016

Hepatitis C Drugs: Putting Profits Before Patients

The makers of a breakthrough drug for hepatitis C infection put profits before patients in pricing the $1,000-per-pill cure.” (1)


“Infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV)? The CBCD recommends taking Novirin or Gene-Eden-VIR.” - Greg Bennett, CBCD

A report released by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee found that the makers of a game changing drug against the hepatitis C virus (HCV) were focused more on financial gain than on the health of patients. “The report released Tuesday … concludes that California-based Gilead Sciences was focused on maximizing revenue even as its own analysis showed a lower price would allow more patients to be treated for the liver-wasting disease.” (1)

As the San Francisco Chronicle noted, “With the hepatitis C virus affecting about 3 million people in the United States, the impact of Gilead’s pricing strategy is real, measurable — and devastating. With a 12-week course of Gilead’s Harvoni priced at nearly $100,000, taxpayer-funded Medicare Part D spent $4.6 billion on hepatitis C alone in the first half of 2015, leaving seniors and disabled persons with the prospect of higher deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket costs. Twenty-nine states said that hepatitis C was their most or second-most-costly pharmaceutical outlay, resulting in only 2.4 percent of affected Medicaid enrollees undergoing treatment.” (1)

It is clear then that new hepatitis C (HCV) drugs are too expensive for most patients. An article in Forbes magazine noted that these high costs “are hitting Medicaid health insurance programs for poor Americans particularly hard because the population of patients in need of Hepatitis C treatments tends to have low incomes and wouldn’t be able to afford the drug otherwise. Medicaid is funded by state and federal tax dollars and administered by state governments.



Anonymous said...

I wonder if Medicaid has a priority list based on age or other factors, allowing the drug for some and not for others.

lmclain said...

The key phrase, as far as the insurance companies are concerned, is "paid for by state and federal tax dollars."
When you get the key to the treasure box of taxpayer dollars, the sky is the limit. No price is too high for a bureaucrat to approve.
If a few no-name, voiceless citizens have to die in order to get that 5th house and a new Corvette, well, somebody gotta die. Its not personal. It's business.
Insurance executives and their lapdog government partners.
Add them to the "hanging list".
Meanwhile, keep cheering.

Anonymous said...

medicine is all about profit, just as everything is in this country. too much money to be made in 'treatments' rather than releasing the cures.