Science Lab Pharmaceuticals

A non-profit is cutting the cost of Hep C cures

But why are drugs so expensive in the first place?

Talk about undercutting on price. A non-profit has developed a cure for Hepatitis C which is just as effective as the current drug available – it will cost patients $300.

What it means: Hep C affects 71 million people worldwide and kills 40,000 people a year. But the high cost of existing drugs means only 3 million people are currently receiving treatment.

The non-profit Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has received funding from a number of different organisations to run trials on a new drug. They're working with an Egyptian pharma company to bring a new treatment to countries that can't afford to pay the high price by the leading US-made drugs.

DNDi is tearing up the rule book on what we thought about the way pharmaceuticals are produced. So why are drugs so expensive? On a very basic level, it's because it costs a lot of money to develop and test them (what's called 'Research & Development', or R&D). According to this very good Forbes explainer, it's not unusual for a drug company to spend $500 million on a single clinical trial.

Pharmaceuticals companies are also very protective over what's called 'intellectual property' – if the ideas (and the research costs) are theirs, then no other company can enter the market and compete. That means they can bump up the price – and they'll make sure they're making a profit too.

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?