Price Matter At Customers : Drugs And Treatment For Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia ( Cml )
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Prices matter to customers. Donna Scrivens*, a 39-year-old deli owner living with Multiple Sclerosis, knows this as well as anyone does. Last August, when Scrivens was forced to raise prices on her ever-popular breakfast egg sandwiches, customers turned to alternatives. “Even some of the regulars stopped coming. People notice, and they have other options.”
So why isn’t this also true for big pharma?
As a consultant to pharmaceutical companies for three years, I talked to people afflicted with disease – like Donna – about affordability of their treatments. For some of the newest treatments on the market, drug prices, and subsequently patient costs, have reached unsustainably high levels.
There is no denying that drug development has improved the lives of patients. “Rational drug design”, the process of developing medications based on the identification of a specific biological target, has produced promising new medications. For instance, Gleevec (imatinib) is a treatment for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). In contrast to many chemotherapy agents which have a relatively non-specific impact on rapidly-dividing cancer cell and on the body’s healthy cells, Gleevec targets the disease itself. Drugs like Gleevec have significantly prolonged the lives of patients afflicted with diseases once thought to be deadly and incurable.
But a drug is useless if people can’t afford it. Particularly in the last ten years, representatives of the pharmaceutical industry have provided a