Drugs prices have been drawing attention recently following the decisions by various pharmaceutical companies to spike the cost of various medications several times their original price overnight.
Pharmaceutical companies have the upper hand in drug prices, because patients often have no recourse beyond their medication. But even with the high costs of some treatments, they can be a value compared with the long-term physical and financial burden of the illness itself, finds a study by University of California - San Francisco researchers.
Hepatitis C is a disease that can lead to liver cancer, transplants, cirrhosis and more, but that damage is preventable if treated early. Harvoni cures hepatitis C, but at a cost of $100,000 for the full course of treatment. Insurance companies typically only cover the cost of the treatment in the later stages of the disease, a practice that isn't as cost-effective, the researchers found.
More than 3 million people in the United States have hepatitis C, most of whom were infected from tainted blood transfusions received before 1992. Most new infections are the result of intravenous drug use.
Although $100,000 is no small sum, Harvoni doesn't rank among the most expensive drugs on the market today, many of which are meant to treat a much smaller pool of patients.
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