Scientists have discovered a miracle Hepatitis C drug that can cure 90 percent of affected persons within 3 months. However, the only setback of this new discovery is the fact that it will cost $1,000 per day. The shocking price has generated huge debates in the biotechnology fraternity as some lawyers and insurance companies believe that the manufacturers of the miracle drug are only interested in exploiting their clients financially.
The new drug popular known as Sovaldi might provide a lasting solutions for patients of this disease especially at a time like this when most doctors are finding it hard to get an effective drug. Some critics now claim that Gilead Sciences (GILD) is taking advantage of the situation to sell their new drug at a whopping $1000 per day. According to analysts, the company has witnessed a massive increase of its shares to around 53 percent in a span of one year alone. This is a true indication of the kind of profits it makes by selling the drug at such shocking rates. Analysts also predict that the company could earn a profit of $7 to $10 billion in sales this year alone.
According to health statistics, more than 3 million Americans are said to be suffering from Hepatitis C. Most of them have been infected with this virus through intravenous drug usage. Before the invention of Sovaldi, patients relied on various treatment methods such as interferon injections. As a result, they would experience severe flu-like symptoms and that is why some of them decided to avoid the drug.
Insurance companies will also be affected by the arrival of this expensive drug. According to Mario Molina, the head of Molina Healthcare, the earnings could drop by 18 percent if every Hepatitis C patient in the U.S. is treated using this new drug. Forbes reports that the tab would reach a massive $227 billion, yet the total amount of money spent on all drugs in the U.S. is approximately $260 billion.
The medical fraternity is under immense pressure to dismiss the drug but this seems quite impossible. Some patients do not mind buying it as long as they will be totally cured three months later. Sovaldi has very few side effects compared to other drugs that are specifically meant to cure this disease and for that reason, its popularity continues to rise every day.
Gilead Sciences has defended itself against the accusations of exploiting their patients financially. The company argues that, in fact, this drug is cheaper because it has the potential to cure the patients within three months. This is relatively cheaper than seeking other long and expensive treatment methods. Hepatitis C causes both liver cirrhosis and cancer.
As a result of the rising pressure from citizens, insurance companies and lawmakers, Gilead has explained that the cost of the Hepatitis C drug is based on a country’s per capita income. For example, patients in the U.K will have to pay around $57,000, Germans need $66,000 and $84,000 for Americans for a full dose.
By Andrew Wandola