KEY TAKEAWAY:Gilead, which recently acquired Kite Pharma in an all cash deal, said the list price for Yescarta, which is to be administered just once to each patient, would be $373,000. The cost is supposed to make us feel good because the price is well below that of the first drug in this new class such as $475,000 for Novartis’s Kymriah.
The high price of CAR-Ts is igniting a new debate over the rising cost of prescription drugs. Novartis said it would charge for Kymriah only if patients responded within a month of the treatment, but Gilead is not following suit.
The pharmaceutical industry, for the most part, has been giving the middle finger to everyone when talking about pricing. Allergan’s attempt to transfer the patent for one of their drugs to Native American’s, to avoid losing sales of one of their best selling products, backfired and now they are stuck in a PR nightmare.
But let’s be honest here; Gilead was never about patients, it was about pleasing Wall Street who rewarded the price of their new drug with an increase in their stock price. Of course Gilead would respond with the typical pharma double-talk about “the value of their medication to patients” but the reality is that it’s about the bottom line and always has been.
Even today countless veterans cannot get access to Gilead’s Hep-C treatment because the VA can’t afford it. To say that Gilead is greedy is a huge understatement.
The people working at Gilead probably feed themselves the corporate propaganda about how their drugs are saving people from a horrible disease, but they’re doing this as they cash their high six-figure paychecks to survive in an area with a very high cost of living. My conscience would not allow me to work for such a greedy employer, but then who said that corporations have a conscience?