“Can Pharma Thrive With a Plutonomy Strategy?”
from Edward Fullbrook
In May of this year The Economist had a an article http://www.economist.com/node/18743951 describing how in the United States plutonomy was causing
a shift in how big drug firms do business. For years they have relied on blockbusters that treat many people. Now they are investing in more personalised medicine: biotech drugs that treat small groups of patients more effectively.
It explained how
new cancer drugs offer small benefits at an exorbitant price. Provenge costs $93,000 for a course of treatment and extends life by an average of four months. Yervoy costs $120,000 for three-and-a-half months.
Obviously only the ultra-rich will genrally be able to afford them.
This week members of the US medical profession have reacted. The medical journal The Lancet Oncology contains the group-authored article “Delivering affordable cancer care in high-income countries” http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(11)70141-3/fulltext The article speaks of “a declining degree of fairness for all patients with cancer,” and says
A radical shift in cancer policy is also required. Political toleration of unfairness in access to affordable cancer treatment is unacceptable.
And yesterday phily.com carried “Can Pharma Thrive With a Plutonomy Strategy?” http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthcare/Can-Pharma-Thrive-With-a-Plutonomy-Strategy.html It began
It’s widely known that the top 1% of US households own more than half the nation’s equities and control more wealth than the bottom 90%.
Referring to the first Citibank plutonomy report,
They recommend that the most effective way for companies and wealthy individuals to prosper in Plutonomies is to disregard the “mass” consumer and focus on the rich.
Referring to the Lancet article,
Some observers claim that pharma’s concentration on cancer as a therapeutic category is tantamount to a plutonomy strategy because prices there range from $50,000 to $200,000 per patient per year, while the number of patients who can benefit from any one drug in a personalized medicine approach remains relatively small.
This article also includes a link to the first Citibank plutonomy report and which a few minutes ago was still good: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0BzgUudifBc68ZGUyNzA0MzAtZDZkZC00ZmZjLTkwY2ItNzBlZWRmNjI1ZTNm&hl=en_US