The two drugs have been declared equivalently miraculous. Tested side by side in six major trials, both prevent blindness in a common old-age affliction. Biologically, they are cousins. They’re even made by the same company.
But one holds a clear price advantage.
Avastin costs about $50 per injection.
Lucentis costs about $2,000 per injection.
That is, 40 times higher, or 4,000%.
In anything approaching a market one would choose between these two based on their own preference. The science says there are few if any material differences in outcomes between the two drugs used for the same purpose.
The maker tried to obstruct obtaining that science.
The maker still obstructs, to this day, appropriate approvals so it can package the cheaper drug for this use.
Our so-called “regulatory” apparatus makes this sort of crap possible, as do restrictions that Medicare has imposed on it by law. Most people who suffer from wet macular degeneration are seniors, and thus they are inextricably connected to Medicare.
This is one of many examples of how the medical industry has interlocked itself with government in a way that extracts billions of dollars from you each and every year — money that does not need to be spent in the medical sector at all.
Ken Langone and CNBS are pontificating again on so-called “defensive medicine” and all sorts of other crap this morning. What’s being ignored — deliberately — is restraint of trade and differential pricing for like kind and quantity that is endemic and intentional through the entire medical system.
Those practices are supposed to be a felony. So says the Sherman and Clayton Act (15 USC §1-3). So says (in respect to commodities) Robinson-Patman (15 USC §13) .
So where are the prosecutions? They’re missing, because we also have McCarran-Ferguson that exempts insurance companies from most of the Sherman and Clayton act (explicitly!) and that, along with other laws, effectively exempts the medical industry from laws that prohibit this behavior in virtually every other line of business.
As a direct consequence these 4,000% price disparities exist.
As a direct consequence you pay 4,000% more, directly and indirectly, than you should.
This — the outrageous ramping of cost in the medical industry supported by guns being shoved in your face by government diktat to force you to pay — is why we have a Federal, State and Local budget problem, it is why we have pensions that are going bankrupt and it is why we have an economy that is being strangled.
Until we face this issue head-on and deal with it there is nothing that can be done to address what’s structurally broken in the US economy, nor in federal, state and local budgets.