According to the Wall Steet Journal “Gilead Sciences Inc. knew the $1,000-a-pill launch price for its hepatitis treatment would be out of reach for many patients and cause “extraordinary problems” for government health programs, according to a U.S. Senate report released Tuesday”. The report paints a picture of greed and puttimg investors over patients that is hard to comprehend.
The manufacturing cost, according to CBS News, for Gilead Sciences Hep C drug is $1,400 for the 12 week regimen. $1,400 !!! Yet, Gilead was “fully aware that as the prices kicked up, the number of Americans treated and cured would go down,” Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon and ranking member of the committee, said at a news conference in Washington Tuesday. “Yet based on our investigation, the company chose to put revenue ahead of affordability, of accessibility for millions of patients. Kevin Young, Gilead’s executive vice president for commercial operations, wrote to colleagues in November 2013, shortly before Sovaldi was cleared for sale by U.S. regulators: “Two sincere requests…Let’s not fold to pressure in 2014. Let’s hold our position whatever competitors do or whatever the headlines.”
Yet a Veteran, who has severe liver disease, was told by the VA that they can’t afford Gilead’s medication for at least another year, which is essentially saying “the country you helped protect is turning its back on you”. For the life of me, I cannot understand how people working in pharma could be so heartless.
The bullshit of “putting patients first” is being exposed as a pure canard. Those of us within the industry have seen the shift from doing things that patients actually want and need to do things with one goal in mind “increasing sales to look good for the balance sheet”.
At the heart of these issues are people within the organization who make these decisions with an eye towards their own careers and paychecks. These are the people that need to weeded out and shown the door. Maybe I’m naive, but I do believe that good medicine and putting patients first will lead to profits but evidently I’m in the minority.