Minggu, 16 Maret 2008

A REALLY Costly Drug

A drug called Cerezyme has become a topic of debate among health care professionals, insurance companies, and patients. That’s because at the recommended dosage, the drug costs up to $300,000 per year.

Cerezyme is used to treat a rare inherited disorder called Gaucher disease, characterized by severe deterioration of bones and joints. The recommended dosage was determined on the basis of a clinical trial in only twelve patients more than 15 years ago. At the recommended dosage the drug has proven to be quite effective. But would a lower dose work just as well? Many doctors and insurance companies think so, but the manufacturer (Genzyme) has no interest in finding out. And why would they, when the drug has annual sales of over a billion dollars? Genzyme says it’s not their issue; they’d leave it up to doctors to determine whether a lesser dose would work just as well in their patients.

If the drug were cheap, dosage wouldn’t be an issue. But insurance companies are paying for this drug, and therefore so are we, indirectly. Who do you think should be responsible for determining the proper dose?

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