Analysis: Connect drug prices to ability to save lives, not actual costs

The prices for lifesaving drugs in the U.S. continue to skyrocket. But instead of pinning the rising prices to development costs, an analysis in the New York Times argues they should be seen through the prism of using the healthcare delivery system to maximize profit. That means naxolone, a new drug intended to reverse heroin overdoses, costs about $3 per dose, but will likely retail for closer to $500 per dose, according to the Times. It also explains why a new drug to cure hepatitis C may cost as much as $86,000. "To understand drug pricing you have to shed your sense of value as a consumer and as a noble human being," John Castellani, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, told the Times. "You have to put on the lens of the healthcare industry, where what you're doing is looking for opportunities to maximize return." As a result, the focus should shift away from the cost of the drug and rather on the price for saving a life, Castellani suggested. Analysis