Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

And speaking of theft . . .

Acthar is a drug approved in 1952 for a pediatric seizure disorder. Back then, the manufacturer didn't have to prove it was effective to get approval. But now Questcor is marketing it for multiple sclerosis, even though there is no clinical trials evidence that it works. It's expensive -- Medicare paid an average of $41,763 per prescription in 2012. It turns out that just 15 prescribers accounted for 10% of those prescriptions, and that most of them take money from Questcor.

Apart from human greed, the problem here is that Congress forbids Medicare from not covering any drug which has FDA approval, or from setting prices. This is because drug companies have lobbyists and you and I do not. Also, too, even today to get FDA approval you don't need to prove that your new drug is better than an existing, cheaper alternative. You only have to prove that it's better than placebo. So we finance all these ripoffs. 

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