Opinion

Letters: Paying big bucks to Big Pharma

OpinionHealth InsuranceResearch and DevelopmentMultiple Sclerosis

Re "Prices of new drugs tough to take," March 10

I understand the necessity for drug companies to recoup research and development costs. But in regard to a medication that can cure hepatitis C, a spokesman for the maker of one drug that costs about $1,000 per pill says that the price reflects the "value" of the drug.

This is unconscionable.

I have multiple sclerosis, and my drugs are costly. In my case, prices should have dropped once all research and development were recouped; instead, they have increased. Seventeen years ago, my injectable drug cost around $1,000 per month; now, it retails for more than $8,000.

There is no defensible reason for this increase. I am soon to be 65 and I'm in a panic about Medicare coverage for my MS drug.

When your life depends on drug treatment, the "value" of that is priceless. If we are ever to reduce healthcare costs, the drug companies cannot have carte blanche to set price ceilings at whatever they can get.

Stephanie McIntyre

Northridge

Interestingly, the question of cost for these drugs came up right away: $6.3 billion to treat Californians with advanced liver disease and perhaps $18 billion to cover half of all Californians with hepatitis C.

This rarely happens when, say, a new, expensive airplane for the military is brought up. How does this reflect American values?

Joanne Nagy

Granada Hills

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