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Old 04-04-2014, 01:40 PM   #1
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Default $1,000-a-day miracle drug shocks U.S. health care system

Sovaldi, a new hepatitis C treatment, can cure up to 90 percent of patients within three months. There's just one problem: The drug costs $1,000 a day. That price tag has thrown the biotechnology world into turmoil, as lawmakers and insurance companies complain that Sovaldi's maker is trying to milk desperate patients.

Doctors are understandably finding it hard to pass over a drug that is so effective. As a result, Sovaldi's manufacturer, Gilead Sciences (GILD), is raking in the dough, while its shares have soared 53 percent over the last year. Sovaldi, in fact, may generate the biggest sales ever for a drug's first year. It could bring in a jaw-dropping $7 billion to $10 billion in sales this year alone, analysts say.

There are many sides to the Sovaldi story, and here's how the little pill affects them all:

Patients: There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, and some 3 million Americans are thought to have the virus. Many of them may have been infected through intravenous drug use. Before Sovaldi, patients had to deal with treatments like the injected interferon, which causes such severe flu-like symptoms that many chose to avoid it altogether.

Insurers: Companies being asked to foot the bill for Sovaldi are panicking. One of the hardest hit, Molina Healthcare (MOH), could see earnings drop by 18 percent because of Sovaldi, The Wall Street Journal reports. The head of Molina, Mario Molina, says that if everyone in the U.S. that had hepatitis C were treated with Sovaldi at list price, the tab would run to $227 billion, according to Forbes. To put that in perspective, the amount spent on all drugs in the U.S. is about $260 billion.

Doctors: Physicians are getting pressured to ease up on Sovaldi, but it's hard to pass over the drug when it works so well and has few side effects. Why allow someone to suffer when a cure is three months away?

Gilead: Sovaldi's maker says that even with its high price tag, Sovaldi is cheaper because it cures patients quickly and eliminates a long and expensive treatment using other drugs. Hepatitis C can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

Taxpayers: More than half of those with hepatitis C are veterans, prisoners, uninsured or on Medicaid, the New York Times reports. That requires taxpayers to pick up the bill.

Lawmakers: Perhaps motivated by the high costs to taxpayers, lawmakers are pushing Gilead to explain why it charges so much. It doesn't help that Gilead is offering Sovaldi in Egypt at a 99 percent discount to U.S. prices, or about $900 for a full course of treatment.

Gilead wants to tier its pricing based on a country's per-capita income. So patients in the U.K would pay about $57,000, Reuters reports, while Germans would pay $66,000 and Americans are paying $84,000.

For now, Gilead has a pretty tight lock on the market, but competitors such as AbbVie (ABBV) are expected to debut treatments later this year. But Congress has no power over individual drug costs, so it's unlikely that all the carping will lead to anything, writes Nathan Sadeghi-Nejad in Forbes. There are plenty of ironies here, not the least of which is that medical innovation is revealing the shortcomings of our health care system.

"The drug is a microcosm of the U.S. healthcare system's structural problems," Sadeghi-Nejad adds. "We want big scientific advances, but are not prepared to handle the costs of a drug so effective and tolerable that every patient wants it at once."


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/1000-a-d...h-care-system/
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:45 PM   #2
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Good for Gilead.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:12 PM   #3
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Waiting for Democrats to come out and condemn this.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:34 PM   #4
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This is part of the problem with our healthcare system. Drug companies charge almost nothing overseas and then ass rape americans because we have become so reliant on insurance and make so much more money, then insurance wont pay for a pre existing condition (or wouldnt). It is socialism at its finest; make the rich pay more so the poor can pay less.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:37 PM   #5
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You also have to look at the regulatory costs here. Unless you grease the FDA's palms all along the way, you're not getting approved. I think it's a decent "fuck you" to the federal government.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:45 PM   #6
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How is it a "fuck you" to the feds? They arent hurt by the costs at all, just the insured, the uninsured, and the taxpayers.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:56 PM   #7
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How is it a "fuck you" to the feds? They arent hurt by the costs at all, just the insured, the uninsured, and the taxpayers.
Because Obamacare requires everyone be covered which means all of a sudden, those insurance companies are going to have to pay for this which means they're going to hurt and quite a few backed Obama and Democrats. When they hurt, they stop giving to D's and punish politicians that put this in place.

Takes a bit but when you poison the well, eventually it moves up to the top of the food chain
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:25 PM   #8
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Talk to anyone in the drug business, the first pill that they sell costs billions of dollars. Why? Because of government mandated horseshit, that's why.

Sounds like a lot of the people with Hep C with the exceptionsof the veterans are basically democrats. Sounds like they are getting what they love to vote for, IE Big Government.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:18 PM   #9
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Because Obamacare requires everyone be covered which means all of a sudden, those insurance companies are going to have to pay for this which means they're going to hurt and quite a few backed Obama and Democrats. When they hurt, they stop giving to D's and punish politicians that put this in place.

Takes a bit but when you poison the well, eventually it moves up to the top of the food chain
Hadn't looked at it that way, but we did have the same problem before Obamacare. Every country I have been to with a lower standard of living has cheaper medical drugs than the US. Granted there are probably multiple reasons for all of this and I am not trying to blame all of it on one single cause, but it has been a problem for a while. That seemed to be one of the biggest complaints from both sides during all the healthcare debates; costs are too high. I do believe insurance is probably the root cause, but like Broncojohnny just said, the government regulations for testing new medicines isn't helping either.
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:48 PM   #10
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lol gilead. The dark tower

Seems to me like they could charge $10k for it if they want to. Its theirs they own it and they are the ones that put all the risk and sacrifice into developing it

Plus it will go down in price. Generics will be cheaper and other companies will eventually get around the patents and patents eventually expire
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:24 PM   #11
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Whats to stop an american from flying overseas to get it?

THey would have to pay out of pocket and not let the goverment pay for it that's what.
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:41 PM   #12
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Whats to stop an american from flying overseas to get it?

THey would have to pay out of pocket and not let the goverment pay for it that's what.
It is still a socialist pricing scheme that is aimed at wealth redistribution and wealth inequality. The left would love for this to catch on. Make $100,000 per year? Now your insurance, your car, your house, and everything you buy at the grocery store will cost more than soneone who makes $30,000 per year.
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:32 PM   #13
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See, if I had the cure to cancer and AIDS, the cure would have a sliding pay scale on it as well based on how you vote.
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:55 PM   #14
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I also think that they're charging the US more because, well, "Hey USA, go fuck yourself". We go all over the world pissing people off and shit like this is to be expected.
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Old 04-06-2014, 06:49 PM   #15
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Every facet of healthcare here is broken. From the doctors, insurance companies to the stupid government for getting involved. The big drug and insurance companies are at the root of the problem.......then comes our government, trying to unfuck all the dysfunction that has gotten so bad in the last decade.

Well guess what.....its worse.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:50 PM   #16
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Every facet of healthcare here is broken. From the doctors, insurance companies to the stupid government for getting involved. The big drug and insurance companies are at the root of the problem.......then comes our government, trying to unfuck all the dysfunction that has gotten so bad in the last decade.

Well guess what.....its worse.
If you think they were trying to unfuck the dysfunction then you are amazingly wrong. The government started the dysfunction.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:27 PM   #17
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My wife was on some God awful expensive medicine for a short while that wasn't covered by our insurance. We could not afford the US price, but we found out that it could be gotten much, much cheaper overseas.

The explanation for the higher charge for the US? Mostly because they can, and our higher costs helps with subsiding the government mandated lower costs elsewhere. We wound up getting it from the Netherlands-Antillies.

The high price has opened up an opportunity for someone to make some money; I expect that "invisible hand" of the market will come into play and this drug will eventually be sold in foreign countries and shipped to the US covertly at a much lower price.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:26 PM   #18
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If you think they were trying to unfuck the dysfunction then you are amazingly wrong. The government started the dysfunction.
Well, they are selling it that way. The greed started way before. Our elected leaders saw the potential, then the fucking started.

The government needs to stay out of the healthcare, period. They are not doctors.

I just had rotator cuff surgery, In at 6am out at 3pm. Total bill.......100,000

Now that is seriously fucked up. Granted, great doctors........but the price is way out of line.


Our healthcare system has been fucked for a long time now. No way else to say it.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:08 PM   #19
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Well, they are selling it that way. The greed started way before. Our elected leaders saw the potential, then the fucking started.

The government needs to stay out of the healthcare, period. They are not doctors.

I just had rotator cuff surgery, In at 6am out at 3pm. Total bill.......100,000

Now that is seriously fucked up. Granted, great doctors........but the price is way out of line.


Our healthcare system has been fucked for a long time now. No way else to say it.
Truth right there.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:25 AM   #20
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The market will level itself out.
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