Daily Archives: November 4, 2012

Big pharma’s pricing strategy for new medications continues to put profits before patients.


I know the dust has not settled yet, and there is no concrete decision in this latest example of profits before patients. But there is a lot of discussion right now in healthcare circles about pharma’s continued poor behavior in this area.

The latest example comes from our friends at Sanofi and their rare disease division Genzyme.

Global headquarters of Genzyme.

Global headquarters of Genzyme. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems there is a drug on market, branded Campath, used in the treatment of leukemia and blood cancer. But has been successful in the treatment of MS patients.

Good news I would say.

But, it seems that there is more money to be made in MS, and so Genzyme is looking at a new pricing structure for Lamtrada – as it is going to be called. One that is 20 – 30 times more expensive than it is today. It is only scuttlebutt, but one would need to question the thinking process behind this.

Why would Genzyme even be contemplating such a move? I can only think of one reason, and it has much less to do with patient outcomes than it does with profit.

Healthcare providers, and, I guess, patients as well, are very unhappy about this. And so they should be. It is not wonder the motives of big pharma are so often challenged and they suffer from a severe case of ‘lack of trust’ by their customers.

Two things need to happen.

The first. Pharma needs to take a long hard look at itself and address this type of thinking that seems so ingrained within the industry. There is nothing wrong with making money, but I guess they have not heard of the concept of ‘bad profits’.

The second thing is that the regulators need to take clear and decisive action to stop this behavior.

I wonder which will come first?