Pharmaceutical Tragedy: boo-hoo for a greedy corporation

Genentech’s stock fell on the news that its already modestly priced drug, Avastin, could work effectively at lower doses, potentially dropping the monthly price of treatment from $8,800 to a mere $4,400.

Anon. “With a Costly Cancer Drug, the Dose Appears Optional.” New York Times (23 February): p. C 7.

“Genentech said Thursday that a low dose of its cancer drug Avastin worked just as well as a more expensive high dose in a clinical trial of patients with lung cancer. Genentech’s shares fell 2.5 percent amid concern that the company, as well as its majority owner, Roche Holdings of Switzerland, would receive less revenue from the drug if doctors chose the low-dose version.”

“This means that future prescribing is likely to be done with the low dose of Avastin instead of the high dose,” said Karl-Heinz Koch, an analyst with Bank Vontobel. “The impact is that the monthly price for Avastin in non-small-cell lung cancer drops to $4,400 from $8,800.”

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