Perspectives: COVID-19 Vaccine Might Be Worth Government Turning A Blind Eye To Pharma Profits
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Covid-19 Vaccine: To Fight Coronavirus, Pay A Vaccine Bounty
If we want a vaccine or drug treatment to stop coronavirus, the government should ignore those complaining about drug-company profits and commit to a huge reward that encourages more businesses to develop one. It wouldn’t just save lives; it could save the global economy. The coronavirus could cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion in annual economic output, or $125 billion every month — and that’s a conservative estimate. The losses for the entire world economy will be four to five times larger. And these economic costs will be dwarfed by the human costs of illness and death. (Hanno Lustig and Jeffrey Zwiebel, 3/31)
Hoarding Chloroquine Won't Cure Coronavirus
The need for any kind of treatment to help stem the coronavirus outbreak is acute as cases and hospitalizations continue to mount. But there's a strong need to balance urgency and evidence. President Donald Trump's cheerleading of chloroquine and its derivative hydroxychloroquine — older malaria drugs with limited evidence of efficacy in Covid-19 — is arguably dangerous. As he touts the drugs in press conferences, people are reportedly poisoning themselves via self-administration and hoarding it to create hazardous shortages, making the prudent use and evaluation of it as a treatment more difficult. (Max Nisen, 3/25)
The Government Needs To Know What Drug Companies Will Spend On COVID-19.
n late February, as it became increasingly clear that the coronavirus was going to spread widely in the U.S., Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Congress, “We would want to ensure that we work to make [COVID-19 drugs] affordable, but we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest.” We do need the private sector to invest. But the U.S. government is investing too, and it deserves a say here, on behalf of taxpayers. Since the outbreak of SARS in 2002, the National Institutes of Health has invested nearly $700 million in coronavirus research, and the first COVID-19 package passed by Congress included another $826 million for the development of coronavirus treatments, vaccines, and tests. (Matthew Lane, 3/26,)
We Shouldn't Rush To Use An Unproven Malaria Drug To Treat The Coronavirus
As the pandemic deepens, physicians face an agonizing decision — to medicate or not to medicate? Here’s the dilemma: Over the past few weeks, some small studies suggested a decades-old malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine may have the potential to combat the novel coronavirus known as Covid-19. And as the results trickled out, the tablet has become more valuable than gold. (Ed Silverman, 3/31)
South Florida Sun Sentinel:
Coronavirus Gives Trump White House Chance To Revive Drug Rebate Reform
High out of pocket costs likely won’t be an issue when a treatment for the coronavirus becomes available. Based on past epidemics, it’s probable the government will direct patients to receive a vaccine without having to hand over a copay to an insurance company. Before the current pandemic, rumor had it that the Trump administration was quietly considering reviving a drug pricing reform it abandoned last year. (Drew Johnson, 3/27)