Ten Huge Drug Rip-Offs — and Big Pharma’s Infuriating Campaign to Keep on Price-Gouging

(Photo: Kev-Shine; Edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Kev-Shine; Edited: LW / TO)

This article was originally published by The Influence, a news site that covers the full spectrum of human relationships with drugs. Follow The Influence on Facebook or Twitter.

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…

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