On Drugs

This is a primer on medical treatment, drugs and by connection the health insurance roll out. Gilead bought the maker of the experimental Hepatitis C drug now called Sovaldi for $11 Billion. According to the SF Chronicle, over 3 million people in the US have Hep-C and 140 million worldwide.

The drug will CURE over 90% of cases with a 3 month pill regimen of 2 pills per day. The cost in the US is $84,000. Compared to long term kidney problems or a $500,000 transplant the number is not insane. In fact, other drugs, with lower efficacy, can cost twice the amount. The key here is the potential volume. Under full coverage in the US the take for Gilead is $252,000,000,000 not a bad return on 11B. Express Scripts and the big carriers are fighting back on the cost of the pill.

The same treatment in the UK would cost roughly $60,000 and in Egypt a paltry $900. Clearly, the dysfunction in the US is leading to exploitation. Biotech, R&D and the confusing weave of health care in the US just got much more complicated.

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