Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Breast Views Blog: Breast Cancer Drug Hercepetin

Me wonders about the price tag of $100,000.00US per person on Hercepetin, a breast cancer drug that is sucking up a lot of ink in the news these days.

My questions include: How come so expensive? Is the drug made of something rare and near extinction? Or do obscene amounts of PROFIT come before human health?

Then this media release crossed my screen.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 1 /CNW/ -- "Heading into the summer,biotech widely outperformed the Dow and NASDAQ on a year-to-date basis," said G. Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company, a San Francisco based global leader in life sciences with principal activities in Venture Capital, Merchant Banking and Media. "Yet, when you drill down into the data, this positive performance is not reflective of an 'across the board' trend but attributable to only a handful of companies driving the market.

"There were enough companies that posted stellar gains to keep most of the indices in positive territory," Burrill added. "Topping this list was Genentech. Thanks to some excellent late-stage clinical results on its Avastin and Herceptin cancer drugs and expectations for Lucentis, the company posted a 27% rise in its share price in April and 12% in May.

Genentech now ranks as the seventh largest pharmaceutical company by market cap that stood at $84.8 billion at quarter end," stated Burrill.

Read the entire release here.

Now then, does this seem right to you?

Sue Richards
Publisher of the Number One Breast Health Calendar in the world

2 Brilliant Observations:

Anonymous Michael said...

This is difficult. Most new cancer drugs are in this price range now, being developed from very complex biotechnology, and not just simple chemistry. Herceptin is an antibody to a specific receptor on a cancer cell surface, adapted from mice for human use.

Society has understandably demanded more and more safety testing of newer drugs which forces the development costs up and up. Industry will not put up the capital for research into new cancer drugs without reasonable expectation of recouping its developmental costs.

There is the dilemma, what is a reasonable return for the investment over many years? When should prices come down after a company has recouped its upfront costs? These need careful examination.

What is clear is that regulation of drug costs is very necessary.

Meanwhile what is apalling is that Canadian women are being forced to sell everything they own and go to the US for treatment because herceptin is not being paid for in most of Canada, and therefore under universality, cannot be provided to anyone.

Michael

9:42 AM  
Blogger Sue Richards said...

So what moves are being made toward the regulation of drug costs?

8:05 AM  

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