Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: The FDA backs another R&D scheme, Kite shows its speed while Eli Lilly and Astra stumble again
Endpoints assesses the big biopharma R&D stories of the week, with a little added commentary on what they mean for the industry.
Let’s face it. Biopharma has a bad rep. New drugs come along with jaw-dropping prices and the public feels like it’s getting fleeced. The problem, though, has nothing to do with truly innovative new drugs or their price. The US can well afford the high cost of innovation – with all its benefits. It’s being taken to the cleaners for the ever rising price of old meds that needs to be the focus. This week’s story on Marathon’s move to gain an approval for an ancient steroid called deflazacort sums it all up. Never approved in the U.S., Marathon tested it as a muscle strengthener for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. And they have scored a slew of advantages at the FDA, including its selection as a rare pediatric therapy. You can be sure that Marathon plans to charge much more than the buck-a-pill price charged by online pharmacies in Canada. The agency should reserve its favors for really great new drugs. And the industry needs to learn how to shape an argument that can actually win the public over.
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