News

This old drug was free. Now it’s $109,500 a year.

Washington Post
December 28, 2017

For decades, Don Anderson of Seattle has been taking the same drug to help control the temporary bouts of immobility and muscle weakness caused by a rare and frightening genetic illness called periodic paralysis.
“It's like putting a 50-pound pack on your back and standing up at the dinner table,” Anderson, 73, said. “It's like wearing lead shoes around all the time.”
The drug Anderson has been taking all these years was originally approved in 1958 and used primarily to treat the eye disease glaucoma under the brand name Daranide, its price so unremarkable that he can't quite remember how much it cost at the pharmacy counter. 

    
The Loopholes Drug Companies Use to Keep Prices High

Bloomberg
December 20, 2017

Bob Kelsey can’t afford a cancer drug that could save his life.
The retired firefighter, 53, needs Revlimid to stay healthy. Celgene Corp. has raised the price 88 percent over the past seven years. The drug doesn’t have substantial competition from a less expensive generic version, and probably won’t for another eight years. Celgene has worked hard to make sure of that.
Drugmakers typically have exclusive rights to sell brand-name medicines for 12 or 13 years. After that, cheaper copycats can hit the market. Celgene and a growing number of other pharmaceutical giants are taking advantage of an array of loopholes to extend the exclusivity period, keeping less expensive alternatives away from needy patients like Kelsey.