According to NPR a hepatitis C cure has recently been discovered, called Sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi), which can cure someone of the disease within 12 weeks. However, the company, Gilead Sciences Inc., has made the drug $1000 per pill, which will cost a total of $84,000 for the entire 12 week treatment.
Hepatitis C is a deadly liver virus which leads to liver cancer and failure. It has infected over three million people in the U.S. and 170 million worldwide. 10 thousand people die from hepatitis C in the U.S. every year.
This treatment is an historical moment in the medical community, with a 90% success rate it has the potential to save millions of lives.
Unfortunately this new drug cost $1000 per pill. The vice president of the company claims that it is a fair price for the value of the pill, but when lives are on the line, many feel $84,000 per cure is outrageous.
According to NPR, even the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Liverpool thinks $84,000 is too much, considering how much it costs to produce the drug. Andrew Hill from Liverpool University claims each treatment should only be $150 to $250 per person. Hill also estimates the drug should only cost about $1 per gram to make, and considering it only takes 10 to 30 grams of the drug to cure the hepatitis, a price of $84,000 to save someones life is unjustified.
Dr. Camilla Graham states the price could be justified, considering the company probably has a lot of investment costs it has to pay off. Nevertheless, once the company recovers from the investment cost, the price of Sofosbuvir should be cut.
The vice president of the company responded, “That’s very unlikely that we would do that…”