How do we price life saving drugs?

blindnessI recently heard about a child who suffers with Retinitis Pigementosa. This is a problem that will cause blindness. A drug company has developed a drug that actually cures the problem. The cost of the drug was the question. Below is a statement about the cost.

A US drugmaker offers to cure rare blindness for $850,000. Spark Therapeutics’ Luxturna will cost $850,000 for a one-time treatment. The gene therapy treats a rare, inherited retinal disease that can lead to blindness.Jan 3, 2018 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/03/spark-therapeutics-luxturna-gene-therapy-will-cost-about-850000.html

The child has received the drug. I am not sure if he received it as a test or if somehow it was paid for. Already his vision is improving. The news person was interviewing the person who I think is the owner/ceo?  He was asked how the company set the price on the drug. The answer was so outrageous that I was stunned to hear it.

“We set the drug cost based on the value of curing blindness.”

I have never heard such a thing. I have worked for years in the medical field and certainly realize that drug costs are outrageous…think about the controversy about insulin…but this is beyond amazing. I cannot believe that the head of a drug company would have the nerve to make that statement. Imagine if all drugs were priced accordingly.

Usually the drug companies explain their high prices by talking about the years spent in research and development. Overdone maybe, but a least reasonable idea. But to actually state on national TV that the drug is based on the value of a cure was incredible. Companies usually base the cost of a product on the cost of manufacture plus profit but that is all changing. Now we seem to be setting prices based on what the market will bear. This may be fine for TVs, computers etc. but this is a life saving drug. I hope the scientist who discovered this drug was paid well and feels good about his participation in this fiasco.

The news person didn’t even seem phased by that answer.

sense_of_morality

Where are we headed? The moral sense of this world has disappeared. Making a huge profit is more important that making life worth living. I don’t recognize the world anymore!

6 thoughts on “How do we price life saving drugs?”

  1. Disgusting. It reminds me of when I was called about a fender-bender that was admittedly my fault. The representative said the family needed compensation for medical costs. (They seemed fine when I spoke with them.) I asked how much these “medical costs” were. She replied, “That depends on how much insurance you have…”

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