Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tecfidera - the costs

Ok, folks, I've been on Tecfidera for three weeks now.

Since I wrote about it last week, I've had ups and downs.  Almost literally as I clicked my "publish post" button, a stomach ache started. A stomach ache to end all stomach aches.  It lasted about 2 1/2 days and was so bad I could hardly get out of bed. But since then I've been fine and my face hasn't burst into flames either. So I guess that's good!

I'm thinking today about the costs of Tecfidera. It costs $54,900 a year.(!)

After my insurance kicks in, my price is $1587 per month. Which is $52.90 per day, $26.45 per pill.There is co-pay assistance available, but it runs out after $10,000/year which means after six months the $1587/month is all on me.

This excellent article, states that: "The rest of the cost of Tecfidera has nothing to do with what the ingredients are - it's all about what Biogen had to pay to get it on the market, and (most importantly) what the market will bear. If insurance companies believe that paying fifty thousand a year for the drug is a worthwhile expense, the Biogen will agree with them, too."

This article, states that Biogen Idec, who manufacture Tecfidera had a 32 percent jump in their revenue in the third quarter. Biogen is obviously making money off Tecfidera,  yes, along with the two other MS drugs they manufacture, but it's clear that Tecfidera had increased their earnings substantially.

I get it. Drug manufacturing is a business.  They are in it to earn money. BUT, but, I can't help but bristle that prices are set according to what the market will bear, according to what the insurance companies will bear.

How about what the people who desperately need these drugs can bear?

I understand that the drug companies need profit, but really? $54,900 a year per person. That's a lot of money.

It's estimated that 2.3 million people are affected by MS worldwide. I am one of those people. Just a regular girl hoping that one of these MS drugs will help my sick body.

In addition to being just a regular girl, we have a regular income. I'm a stay at home mom, we have 6 kids. My husband is not Donald Trump. I am not Oprah. We are not wealthy. We are regular, and to be honest $1587/month is going to be a stretch.

Thanks, Biogen.

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