Doctors accuse pharmaceutical company of ‘price gouging’ and say patients cannot afford treatment
The cost of a vital cancer drug has gone up 15-fold in four years after its new owner hiked prices on nine separate occasions.
Lomustine has been used to treat brain tumours, lung cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma for more than 40 years but is now seen by some patients as too expensive.
In 2013, production of the drug, which was previously called CeeNU, passed from pharma giant Bristol-Myers Squibb to a Miami-based startup called NextSource Biotechnology.
At that point it was being sold for around $50 a capsule. The same dose now costs $768 (£570).
NextSource has increased the price nine times in less than five years. A 20 per cent hike in August was followed by a further 12 per cent rise in November, according to analysis by the Wall Street Journal. Prices of other doses of the drug, which the company has renamed Gleostine, have also been increased exponentially.
Although the patent for lomustine has expired, there is no generic version being produced and so NextSource has no competitors to discourage it from raising prices.
Professor Henry Friedman, a neuro-oncologist at Duke University, said: “This is simply price gouging. People are not going to be able to afford it, or they’re going to pay a lot of money and have financial liability.”
But remember everyone, we have the best healthcare system in the world.
How can anyone one justify this ?
Where does the free market end and where does healthcare as a human right begin?
Why should my desire to live come 2nd to this Big Pharma firm, NextSource Biotechnology’s desire to make a massive windfall profit?
How can anyone rationalize raising a life-saving cancer drug’s price 9 times in 4 years?
In 2013, before NextSource Biotechnology purchased the patent for Lomustine, the life-saving cancer drug that we’re discussing, it was $50 a capsule, now just 4 and a half years later that same pill costs $768.
How’s that for the invisible hand of the free market.
The profit motive needs to be eliminated or at least greatly curtailed from healthcare and America needs to stop putting a price on the life of its citizens and provide universal healthcare like Canada and the UK.