Dying for Big Pharma’s Profits

Jeffrey SachsThe Hepatitis-C Virus (HCV) drugs of Gilead Sciences are the poster cases of monopolistic abuse. Gilead owns the patent for the molecule Sofosbuvir, which is sold in two formulations under the brand names Sovaldi and Harvoni. Gilead charges the federal government $84,000 ($1,000 per pill) for a full course of Sovaldi and $94,500 for Harvoni, even though production costs are under $200 per course of treatment. The company is making a killing and, incidentally, adds insult to injury by booking its outlandish US profits in an Irish tax haven.

While the government buys tens of thousands of HCV treatments from Gilead, it is also forced to ration its purchases because of budget constraints. Hundreds of thousands of HCV-infected Americans, both on and off government programs, are unable to obtain the medicines. Many of those being turned away are US veterans who survived their tours in Iraq or Afghanistan only to be killed by Gilead’s not-so-friendly fire.

—Jeffrey Sachs
Rational Drug Pricing

7 thoughts on “Dying for Big Pharma’s Profits

  1. If you are a cold hearted bastard, you should invest in Big Pharma, they tend to have double digit profit margins.

    If you are not a cold hearted bastard, you run for office to get price controls. :D

    • Well, you do. I just hide in my room and send out the occasional campaign donation.

      Are you still directly involved in politics?

      • I am in hiding licking my wounds. Mainly focused on finishing the current degree program and then we will see. I will need to run for the State House or Senate to build name ID up more and then I can run again for Congress or another spot. So we are looking at about three years before I am going to be in a position to run for another office. I am 36 so I have time.

        • Good luck with that! You do have lots of time. We need brave and committed people. I wrote an article about my own recent attempt to become more involved, In Which I Stare at a Woman’s Breasts. It’s sad but true. I don’t think that I get across the overwhelming anxiety of the situation, however. I need to try again.

  2. I know exactly how you feel. Take a friend next time. I usually drag my entourage with me (okay, fancy name for best friend) and it helps with the equally extreme social anxiety I have. I also find it helps if you create someone else to step into.

    But you dodged suddenly getting fifty billion tasks handed to you, Democratic peeps looooooooooooooooooooooove new volunteers.

    • That’s a good idea. My friend Will and I have kind of an old comedy duo thing going on whenever we’re around each other. That would help. Strength in numbers!

      • And you can have someone who can quietly kick you when you accept the next year’s worth of voter registration drives.

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