When did you become aware of the obscene prices the pharmaceutical industry is charging for drugs? For many it was when a smirking Martin Shkreli, founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals, testified on the Hill in February about his price hike of the antiparasitic drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750, after which he called lawmakers “imbeciles” in a tweeted goodbye.
For others it was the roll-out of Gilead Sciences hepatitis C drug Sovaldi in 2014 at $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment.
“Let’s hold our position whatever competitors do or whatever the headlines,” a Gilead executive said in an internal email, an impressive commitment to price-gouging in the face of public opprobrium. The Senate Finance Committee, in an understatement, said the price did not reflect research and development but a “revenue” push. Forbes writer Avik Roy noted the same hepatitis C treatment costs $900 a year in Egypt and that US taxpayers are picking up the tab since most US hepatitis C patients are uninsured, underinsured or imprisoned.
Other shocking drug prices include:
- Kalydeco a drug that treats a rare form of cystic fibrosis in patients ages 6 years and older priced at a $300,000 a year.
- Acthar, a drug that treats treat seizures in infants under 2-years-old priced at a $300,000 a year.
- Kadcyla, a breast cancer drug that costs $94,000 for a year.
- Zydelig, a leukemia drug, made by Gilead the (Hep C drug maker) that costs $57,755 a year.
- Hetlioz, a drug that treats non-24 sleep disorder — a problem affecting blind people whose circadian rhythm is off — that costs $60,000 per year.
- Xyrem, a drug that treats narcolepsy…