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Emptying Your Wallet: Crony Capitalist Big Rx Cashes In

Government control of healthcare has effectively removed supply-and-demand controls over drug pricing, meaning the sky is the limit on new rx costs. Here’s how crony capitalist Big Pharma companies are cashing in … 

AXIOS – BioMarin Pharmaceutical is eyeing a $2-3 million price tag [per patient] for its hemophilia gene therapy if it’s approved, which could make it the world’s most expensive drug, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: It’s a good reminder that today’s pipeline is likely to cause a giant shock to the health care system over the next few years.

The company’s CEO said insurers have indicated that they’re OK with the price range.

The most expensive drug in the world right now is Zolgensma, a $2.1 million-dollar gene therapy that initially ran into some coverage problems.

BioMarin argues that the lifetime cost of treating hemophilia is $25 million, making the company’s gene therapy a relative bargain.

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Yes, but: There have been some concerns that the treatment won’t last for a lifetime. Source [Fair Use]

““Prescription drug prices rise faster than inflation every year and taxpayers are footing the bill for these higher prices. Even if you don’t take a medication, you’re paying for it.” – John Rother, executive director of the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP)

Health care industry grapples with staggering gene therapy costs

Jan 14, 2020

AXIOS – The gene therapy pipeline contains several drugs that are likely to cost the health care system billions of dollars in the near future, according to an a new CVS white paper.

The big picture: Drugmakers are already having to come up with creative ways to get paid for high-cost drugs, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, and that’s before these new gene therapies hit the market.

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Why it matters: These therapies will provide medical miracles to patients who have long gone without cures for debilitating diseases. Some may even save money in the long run, compared with the cost of lifelong treatment.

But our health care system isn’t built to absorb these kinds of upfront costs.

The impact will be especially potent for small employers, which could be bankrupted by one sick employee who receives one of these therapies.

What’s next: CVS is developing an additional insurance product that it says will help small employers guard against this, among other solutions it outlined in the white paper.

The bottom line: Policymakers are stuck on how to deal with existing prescription drug prices, but the private market is beginning to at least grapple with how it will handle the cost of future drugs. Source [Fair Use]

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