Pricey Hep C Wonder Drug Sovaldi Surpassed By Even-More-Expensive Successor Harvoni
Such developments are being watched closely amid concerns that such costly breakthrough drugs could boost U.S. health care costs.
The Associated Press:
$1,000-Per-Pill Drug Overtaken By Pricier Successor
The $1,000 pill for a liver-wasting viral infection that made headlines last year is no longer the favorite of patients and doctors. ... Sovaldi, last year's wonder drug, has been pushed aside by a successor called Harvoni, made by the same company. The sticker price for Harvoni is $1,350 a pill. The fast-paced changes in hepatitis C treatment are being watched closely amid fears that breakthrough drugs could reignite the rise of U.S. health care costs. Other medications that could turn into cost drivers include a new treatment for melanoma and a cholesterol-lowering drug awaiting approval. More hepatitis C drugs are also headed to market. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 7/11)
Meanwhile, NPR examines the relationship between doctors and drug companies -
Should Doctors And Drugmakers Keep Their Distance?
Doctors are obsessed with time. It comes down to simple math. If I have four hours to see a dozen patients, there simply isn't much time to stray from the main agenda: What ails you? Frequently harried, I avoid drug company salespeople. Their job is to get face time with me and convince me quickly of the merits of their products. To sweeten the path in, they bring food for the staff along with free samples of prescription drugs for us to give to our patients. (Schumann, 6/12)
And ProPublica reports on how a blood thinner may be causing serious issues for nursing homes -
Popular Blood Thinner Causing Deaths, Injuries At Nursing Homes
When Loren Peters arrived in the emergency room in October 2013, bruises covered his frail body, and blood oozed from his gums. The 85-year-old had not been in a fight or fallen down. Instead, he had been given too much of a popular, decades-old blood thinner that, unmonitored, can turn from a lifesaver into a killer. Peters took Coumadin at his Marshalltown, Iowa, nursing home because he had an abnormal heart rhythm, which increases the risk of stroke. It’s a common precaution, but the drug must be carefully calibrated: too much, and you can bleed uncontrollably; too little, and you can develop life-threatening clots. (Ornstein, 7/12)