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Are HIV Meds so expensive due to the government or the medicine companies?

Medicine Companies
Mix of both

Author Topic: Atripla  (Read 4465 times)

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Offline appleboy

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« on: July 12, 2006, 08:36:50 PM »
I am so excited that in 25 years we finally have at least one once daily single pill HIV treatment.  My biggest concerns are still the pricing of HIV drugs.  The estimated pricing for Atipla is going to be over 1,100 a bottle (30 pills).  Where does this money go to?  I know that local government and national governments has efforts to help pay for meds but if you look at the whole cycle of things it all ends up in tax payers pockets.  It also hits the insurance companies hard too as if your co-pay is 25 bucks the insurance is picking up the other 1,075 of the cost of the medication.  I know we have a free way of enterprise in the US but my goodness.  Sometimes I wonder if the cure has not been found because of the fact if it is cure then there is no need for HIV meds.  It really makes you think.
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Offline DingoBoi

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Re: Atripla
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2006, 02:10:22 AM »

insurance doesn't pick up the remaining 1000+ after your copayment...

insurance plans get discounted rates....

i pay $30 per 90 day presciptions in copay.... my insurance payment is about $130 per prescription (averaged)

insurance companies do NOT pay retail rates.

Offline gerry

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Re: Atripla
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2006, 03:00:11 AM »
my insurance payment is about $130 per prescription (averaged)

Are you sure about this figure and are you talking about ARVs?  US pharmacy benefit managers do not get this much of a discount for insurance companies on branded products.  The most I've seen is about 2/3 the cost of retail.

Offline DingoBoi

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Re: Atripla
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2006, 03:17:28 AM »
i'm not cognizant enough to research this and post exact numbers.. i might be confused.  I'll doulbe check tomorrow and post again.

Offline Cliff

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Re: Atripla
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2006, 05:21:48 AM »
The cost is high because:

1.  The market is small.  There aren't that many people who are HIV positive (who live in countries where drug companies can sell the product profitably).  Plus not everyone who is HIV positive is on meds (or needs to be on meds).  Plus not everyone who is on meds will choose to take this drug (or any other drug), for various reasons.  So after taking all of that into account, you really only have a few hundred thousand people who will end up taking this drug.  All the costs incurred to bring this drug to market (the original drugs in particular) must be borne by those few people until patent protection has expired.  Plus the product pricing must also take into account all the cost that was incurred relating to drugs/compounds that did NOT make it to market.  Those losses have to be absorbed by the drugs that are successful.

2.  The drug companies need to remain profitable (highly profitable) in order to attract capital (which they use to invest in new drugs).  The drug industry is very risky.  Most drugs fail.  So investors demand a higher rate of return from drug companies, to compensate for the higher risk.  So drug companies have to price their product high enough to ensure a comfortable profit margin to continue to attract capital.

This isn't just specific to HIV.  Look at drugs for other diseases (like cancer) or even other diseases where the number of people suffering from it is relatively low.  You will see that the drugs are priced just as high.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2006, 05:25:57 AM by Cliff »

Offline appleboy

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Re: Atripla
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2006, 09:33:17 AM »
Thanks for the posts!  It is true that it is just not HIV meds.  I did some research on my last bottles of Sustiva and Truvada and here is what I know off my specific insurance plan.
Drug Name      Billed Amount     Allowed Amount   CO-Pay     Amount paid by insurance
Sustiva            $543.00            $448.68             $25.00     $423.68
Truvada           $942.80            $792.51             $25.00     $767.51

Now unless some discount is provided to the insurance company (that I don't see in my billings etc) that would still come out to be 14,292.28 a year that the insurance company would be paying.  I also know that medications in other countries do not advertise like they are here ie. commercials, radio, magazines.  I guess a lot of it still falls on the free commerce system we have in the US.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2006, 09:47:24 AM by appleboy »
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