The answer is that patients profit the most; it’s a life-saving and life-extending drug. But the sticker price (termed wholesale acquisition cost) keeps rising. Following the money will reveal both the lack of pricing transparency, and those who are raking the greatest share of the price increases.
Drugs & Pharmaceuticals
We're almost two years into the pandemic and there have been more than enough ups and downs to last a lifetime. But now we have a potentially big "up," because the results just came in on Pfizer's COVID drug Paxlovid—and they are nothing short of amazing. Will we finally be free of the terror of this pandemic? Maybe.
Merck just announced that it granted a royalty-free license for its antiviral drug molnupiravir to Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed organization dedicated to providing crucial medicines to 105 poorer countries. Will this make a difference in the battle against COVID? I argue that it will.
Antiviral drugs will be a necessary addition to vaccines to tamp down COVID. Both Pfizer and Merck have drugs in the clinic and they both look good. Roche also has a candidate but things are looking pretty grim. How grim? Better read this.
Europe, as opposed to various national authorities, is well poised to provide funds to support the broken antibiotic market. If this ever comes to be, how will products deserving of such support be chosen? Separately, will European regulators continue their slide back to requiring infeasible clinical trials and thereby limiting access to new antibiotics in Europe or will they wake up?
Flu season is here. With COVID-19 still wreaking havoc in certain parts of the US, getting a flu shot is more important this year than ever before.
Antiviral drug development for COVID-19 took a back seat to vaccines during the brief time – when we thought that ending the pandemic was simply a matter of getting enough needles in enough arms. But the virus had other ideas: variants. Now it's looking like we may need a drug to complement the vaccines. Three are in development. Here's a look at Pfizer's PF-07321332. It should work, but don't hold me to that.
Some experts have argued that America's expensive, inefficient health care system is to blame for our intense vaccine hesitancy. While this is a plausible explanation, it misses the key problem—the politicization of medicine, along with almost everything else in our culture.
Remdesivir, an antiviral drug with the potential to treat COVID, has been largely ignored since its "introduction" to the world at the beginning of COVID. It just didn't seem to work very well. But data from a Phase 3 trial by Gilead was a surprise. The drug, when given to COVID patients in a non-hospital setting, did a very good job of keeping them out of the hospital. Here's a summary of the clinical data.
A group at Sloan Kettering is proposing the use of certain types of chemotherapy drugs to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection. One cannot help thinking of the old adage about what everything looks like when you only have a hammer.
I get it. People are sick and tired of COVID and endlessly cranky about having to deal with the changing facts and rules. Some of this discontent is expressed as dissatisfaction with the vaccines. While this frustration may be understandable it is not warranted. The vaccines are nothing short of a medical miracle. Don't shoot the messenger RNA. Blame the virus.
Mechanical ventilation is an imperfect method of supplying oxygen to patients who are hypoxic, but there aren't satisfactory alternatives. A recent study by a Japanese group has shown that a "butt breathing tube," probably not as delightful as it sounds, can supply oxygen to mice, rats, and pigs that were exposed to hypoxic conditions. Can this work in people?