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May 05 2011

Preventing cheaper treatments to increase profits

Reader Norm sent me this news item which alleges that sheer greed for excessive profits is causing one drug company (Genentech) to try to block a possible cure for macular degeneration (which can cause blindness) from being tested and approved, because the cost of this drug ($50 per dose) Avastin is forty times less that the alternative treatment Lucentis ($2,000 per dose) marketed by the same company.

The Plain Dealer also ran a story on the fact that the Cleveland Clinic ran a comparison test anyway and found that Avastin worked as well as Lucentis.

3 comments

  1. 1
    Jared A

    There are also things called “orphan drugs” where a drug has been patented but no one has elected to pursue production because the potential market is not appealing enough. (I have heard anecdotes about some of these drugs.)

    The perverseness off the pharmaceutical world is one thing that drove me away from organic to materials chemistry. Not that any industry is entirely free of this type of nonsense.

  2. 2
    Abe Bell

    In a similar anecdote, I sat in on a webinar a couple of years ago where one of the attendees claimed to have documented proof of a pharmaceutical company withholding a drug that would virtually eliminate the use of hemodialysis. Unfortunately, we can not be shocked when corporations act in the best interest of its perceived stakeholders. I say “perceived” stakeholders because the heads of these corporations fail to realize that they are citizens in the world at large, and that their failure to exhibit goodwill toward the global community negatively affects us all.

  3. 3
    Jessica

    Roche’s official position that they are concerned about patient safety is blatantly transparent. I’m happy to see that the Cleveland Clinic’s study was funded by the National Eye Institute.

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