The real reason drugs cost so much and why big pharma is so rich | Molly Scott Cato

The lack of a free market makes drugs very expensive, and increasing market consolidation will exacerbate the problem

This morning we heard of the row between the drug company Roche and the government’s drug adviser, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), apparently negotiating over the last six months of the lives of women suffering from breast cancer. At issue was the £90,000 per patient that Roche is charging for the drug Kadcyla, which is not a cure but can extend life. Protected by what are known as intellectual property rights, the company has a legally sanctioned monopoly and is free to set its price. This process is a game of chicken between the company and the government, which is subject to lobbying by desperate families but also restrained by a limited budget.

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Pharmaceuticals industry | The Guardian

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