When Is An Old Drug Worth $4,200 per Dose?
When it is a re-packaged drug that claims to shrink cancer tumors, of course! This should be criminal. An old drug called “Taxol” is being “re-branded” as “Abraxane” and is being sold as a drug to shrink cancer tumors at $4,200.00 per DOSE! Yes, that is per dose, not per bottle!
“CHARGING $4,200 a dose for a new version of an old cancer drug has helped make Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong a billionaire. The drug, Abraxane, does not help patients live longer than the older treatment, though it does shrink tumors in more patients, according to clinical trials. And the old and new medicines have similar side effects. An independent review of Abraxane published in December in a cancer research journal concluded that the drug was old wine in a new bottle. Still, Dr. Soon-Shiongs company, Abraxis BioScience, has promoted Abraxane as a major advance in treating late-stage breast cancer that is, for patients who have not responded to other treatments and are now close to death and is seeking approval for patients to use it earlier in their treatment. And, in at least one way, Abraxane is a breakthrough: it costs about 25 times as much as a generic version of the older medicine, which is best known by its brand name, Taxol. Because of the odd economics of the cancer drug market, though, Abraxanes price does not seem to be hurting its popularity. About 20,000 people have now been treated with the drug, and Dr. Soon-Shiong expects its sales to approach $200 million this year. By 2010, Abraxanes annual sales could reach $1 billion, analysts say.”
Now, as to side effects? Well, the article says that, “Both Abraxane and Taxol can kill white blood cells, leaving patients open to infection, as well as damage nerves in the hands and feet. Taxol causes more damage to white blood cells, while Abraxane causes more nerve damage.”
This is a very, very dangerous drug. And, to charge such monsterously high prices to do this kind of damage to people that already have such advanced conditions is inhuman, in my humble opinion!