A Modest Healthcare Proposal

Dean BakerGeneric Sovaldi Costs Less than $1,000 in India. It would have been worth mentioning this fact in a Washington Post article on the cost of providing Medicare and Medicaid patients with Sovaldi. Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of Sovaldi, can get away with charging $84,000 for a treatment because the government will arrest anyone who tries to produce the drug without its permission.

Of course there is nothing to prevent people from going to India to get treatment there. It would be possible to pay $20,000 for the treatment and travel of a patient and family member, give them $10,000 for their troubles, and still come out $54,000 ahead. This would be a great win-win situation but apparently The Washington Post doesn’t want anyone to consider ways to save the government money at the expense of drug companies.

And yes, we do have to finance the research, but patent monopolies are a horribly inefficient mechanism for this purpose.

—Dean Baker
Generic Sovaldi Costs Less than $1,000 in India

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