So, the PBS Newshour program featured a story tonight on the new miracle cure for Hepatitis C, a drug developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc., a Californian company known for its HIV drugs.
The drug has a stunning effectivity rate, curing over 90% of those given the drug. The regimen requires an 84 day course to work, costing each patient over $84k for the treatment.
Sadly, the Newshour coverage did not even address the ethics or morality of the pricing of the product, nor even question the basis of such pricing, despite Congress already looking into the issue. There appears to be a clear pro-med bias on PBS, preserving them from the same harsh light that they shine on other sectors of industry and society.
What about it? In my former home state, there are laws against price gouging during a natural disaster. If there is an ice storm, a hardware store may not double or triple the price of a gas-powered portable generator simply to cash in on desperate people. Why should medical business ethics on pricing be any different?
No one believes the pricing is merely based upon development costs being recovered. It is obviously a case of profiteering. Is the new norm live-and-let-die, or is this just the most obvious and egregious example of the wider problem?
Should a government and an insurance industry pay any price?
There once were bread riots. Maybe we have reached a day in which corrupt officials once again need to be tarred and feathered literally. Maybe the pharmaceutical Bastille's need to be brought down. We have sadly unfunded drug development and allowed the private sector to run loose, and let the citizens and patients be damned.