Hi. Are you in the US? If so, the answer to your question is that Teva, like all of the CRAB manufacturers, charges as much as it does because it can. It's that simple.
They will tell you how expensive it is to research new drugs, most of which never pan out, and they're right. They do need to recoup these costs, and they do need to make a profit or they'd be out of business, and then we'd all suffer.
However, and this is a BIG however, the CRAB drugs are huge profit-makers and have been for many years. Is this price-gouging to the nth degree? Many people believe so.
Copaxone's patent will expire in 2014, at which time generic versions will appear that will be relatively quite cheap, but probably still way more than the average person can afford. Even if it goes from say, $3000/month to $1000/month, who can afford even that?
This is something prescription insurance plans have to duke out with Big Pharma, and they do it all the time, which is why most of us take generic versions of other meds where they're available. But I don't see the cost of drugs in general coming down in the future, regardless of changes in health care law.
Copaxone is Teva's goose which lays the golden egg. It makes more money on the U.S. market with Copaxone than all the rest of the World combined.It is the most profitable MS drug in history. Novartis its chief rival has Capaxone which is the generic version. Teva has fought in the courts to keep it off the U.S. market. It will be on the market soon. The plan was for Teva's oral MS drug to make it to the market before Gilenya but it still is not on the market. Copaxone has to hold its price until their oral is profitable. I suspect when Capaxone comes to market instead of lowering the price they will just say it is better and proven. They may offer to pay copays. Teva like Novartis owns hundreds of generic drug companies and breaks patents all over the place. Generic companies do not have to advertise, they can't be sued, and they do not have to pay for R&D. Teva only make patent drugs for MS and Cancer which are expensive and less likely to be in law suits.
We in the U.S. pay more because in other countries the governments buy drugs in bulk and negotiate prices, Teva and Novartis are not U.S. companies so we do not need to pay for Research and development. Most drugs are produced overseas. The claim they are made and distributed and safer in the U.S. argument is bogus. We pay more in the U.S. because our system allows it.
Alex nailed it - our system allows the pharmaceutical companies to gouge us, so they do. I heard that Medicare isn't even allowed to negotiate with them for lower prices for drugs - they have to take what they're offered.
I was referring to Laquinimod. Teva got in trouble with shareholders for saying it was better than it was. Teva planned to double their shares in 5 years. I guess no business plan is full proof.
Also PBMs Pharmacy Benefit Manager's play a big part in the U.S.'s drug prices. Medco is one such manager. I was shocked when I went off a DMD and they went to great lengths to keep me on not for my sake but because of lost profits.
Medicare and Medicaid are not allowed to negotiate and if a new drug comes on the Market Medicaid has to allow it even if there is a cheaper one. This can blow a State's already fragile Medicaid budget.
It is amazing what drugs cost. Abilify which is advertised on TV is over a $1000 a month. I am not on it. I heard about it in the Medicaid meeting. The cost of psychiatric drugs is one reason they did not want Mental Health parity. There is a good book called Side Effects which talks about the falsifying of many studies for these drugs.
I found all drugs, mostly generics are $1500 a month and I am not on a DMD or Ampyra. My generic Imitrex is $200 for nine pills. It is made in India and is so cheaply made it falls apart when you take it out of the blister pack. It says do not break. It is a Teva generic.
It is very hard to trace the cost of a specific drug or generic drug companies in general. I have spent a lot of time doing both. It is rather interesting.
You have Teva and Novartis with a few patent MS medicines buying up smaller generic drug companies all over the world. Both trying to get the next generic to market. Even fighting each other in the courts. It is amazing how much they spend in litigation and in fines. They break patents and just pay the fines. Then you have Biogen working on the latest in MS drugs along with developing other drugs.
Copaxone was supposed to be an oral but failed because it broke down in digestion. So then it was developed as an injectable.
These drug companies are not all bad they are the dollars which drive MS research. The U.S. Government does not spend much on MS research so it has to come from the private sector.
The latest I heard was that Teva has petitioned the FDA to require new phase 2 and pahse 3 studies for the Copaxone generics "since the process and formulation of the generics hsa not been proven to be as safe or as clinically effective as the Teva formulation." There is a several million dollar hit ot getting a generic to market.
"Teva is pulling out all the stops to protect Copaxone, which provides 25%-33% of the pharmaceutical company's profit. The Citizens Petition was filed with the FDA on December 12, 2010. In the petition, Teva insists that generic Copaxone cannot be launched without a full clinical trial. Should the petition be approved, Teva would receive a breathing space of at least two years before generic Copaxone would reach the market. But if the petition is dismissed, generic competition for Copaxone would start very soon. "
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