Monday I wrote a brief article about how Revlimid was more expensive per pound than gold. The story was based on a suggestion I received by e-mail the previous week.
I have received a number of e-mails and calls since Monday about the high cost of Revlimid. Frustration over the drug’s cost is growing, fueled by the bad economy and other rising health care costs. It doesn’t help that Revlimid is an oral medication. Unlike Velcade, which is covered under Medicare Part B, Revlimid is “covered” by Medicare’s drug plan (Part D), leaving patients to deal with thousands of dollars of expense, caused by the infamous “donut hole.”
Sometimes private drug plans cover a large portion of Revlimid’s cost–up to $8000 each month–and sometimes they don’t.
Celgene does have a patient assistance program the Wall Street Journal calls “generous by industry standards.” However, the program mainly helps patients who earn less than $38,000 a year and also have assets of less than $10,000.
Today one of my regular readers, Geoff from Wisconsin, forwarded me one of the best,most comprehensive articles about Celgene’s drug pricing history I have ever read. I will be dissecting and analizing several parts of the article over the next few days. Your homework for tomorrow is simple: Read
How Drug’s Rebirth as Treatment For Cancer Fueled Price Rises: Once-Demonized Thalidomide Boosts Celgene’s Sales; Patients See Costs Soar, by Geeta Anand.
I will be following a number of different but related story lines, based on Geeta’s article, over the next few days, including the IMF’s political lobbying efforts to help reduce the costs of oral cancer medications. I will end the series with a discussion about a number of conspiracy theories about Celgene and the pharma industry which are gaining traction. My model is the old style, big city newspaper serial expose’s which would follow a news story over a number of weeks, trying to uncover hidden truths and scandal. There is a real story here, people. Unlike Fox News, I will try to be “fair and balanced.” No wild, unsubstantiated accusations. Let’s try to examine these issues from a number of different angles and points of view. This should be “fun!”
Feel good, keep smiling and don’t forget to do your homework! Pat