Saturday, May 3, 2008

Market Intelligence: Pharma drug pricing

Roy Vagelos, former CEO of Merck was moved this week to comment:

“There is a shocking disparity between value and price, and it’s not sustainable. The industry will bring about government price controls which will be devastating for the industry… I don’t care what the cost is, it’s inappropriate. The industry has a black eye. And the market will correct that.”

Mick Huckman reported on the presentation on his CNBC blog.

A victory for common sense.

Vagelos did say that "Most drugs are a terrific bargain." He also believes that high prices are justified if the drug offers high value. The challenge is that greed and delusion by a few irresponsible companies will inevitably lead to not only broader price controls in the US, but much tougher regulatory hurdles such as the UK's NICE, which demands companies demonstrate pharmacoeconomic benefit, in addition to safety and efficacy.

How can anyone justify spending $50,000 for extending someone's life for less than 6 months?

That is a moot point only the patient and their family can decide.

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