Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Monday, July 28, 2014

To hear scientists talk about it, it’s nothing short of a wonder drug.

The drug is sofosbuvir, called Solvadi by its manufacturer, and its effectiveness in treating hepatitis C is so pronounced that the U.S. regulators designated it “breakthrough therapy” when they approved it for U.S. markets last year.

The catch is that it doesn’t come cheap: a single pill costs $1,000, meaning the 12-week daily dose prescribed for most patients will cost $84,000. That has brought howls of protests from activists accusing California-based Gilead Sciences of charging extortionate prices.

The dispute highlights the continuing conundrum afflicting medical research and spiraling health care costs, not only in the United States and elsewhere. What’s an appropriate price to charge for life-changing, or life-saving, drug therapies and who determines it?

Source: Voice of America News (link opens in a new window)

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Health Care
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drugs, healthcare technology, infectious diseases, pharmaceutical industry, public health