It is expensive to develop new drugs. Britain and the UK has a 12 year patent rule, after which the drugs can be made competitively in a “generic” form by any company that can master the production. Development is expensive and a long term risk for companies and investors. Many products have been refused funding by the health services of the UK, until their patent is about to expire, or has expired. Other countries have similar rules. This all means that the payback for investment must be covered in 12 years…….
If governments want to share in the pricing decision, then they need to share in the risk of the research. And of course this will include many failures. 12 years seems a reasonable time frame for payback, until you or your next of kin is the potential beneficiary, and the treatment is effectively rationed. There are many new drugs to come, especially genetically engineered ones, but risky investment will cease if the payback time is reduced. It is a great shame that patients with cystic fibrosis cannot be funded for a new drug. It is, however, reasonable rationing, or tough love. But those who need it in 12 years time can be hopeful that it will be affordable then.
Health ministers have urged a pharmaceutical company to drop the price of a life-changing cystic fibrosis (CF) drug for NHS patients.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ Orkambi costs £100,000 a year per patient, and has been deemed too expensive for the NHS.
The company rejected an NHS England counter offer, saying it was not enough to fund research into future medicines…..