nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Phew! Old Drug For Gout Now Approved Safe...Also Now Unaffordable

Actions have consequences:  FDA approves centuries-old drug:  price goes from $0.05 per pill to $5.00 per pill.

I've used colchicine throughout my career for acute attacks of gout.  It's not something to play around with:  works great, but like some medicines, dosage needs to be controlled carefully.  In acute situations it can be very effective, but long-term use, or taking too much, can cause a poisoning that damages bone marrow, and can be lethal.

It's been around for about two hundred years, and is standard therapy and accepted practice.  It's also cheap as dirt.  But, the FDA never did the work to approve it.

But finally they did, commissioning a company to study it.  That company showed colchicine's safety and effectiveness, and the FDA approved the drug.  The company was also given exclusive marketing for three years.

As the Wall Street Journal now reports, the drug, branded Colcrys, now costs $5 a pill.

Another unintended consequence, that seems to occur regularly, of government regulation.  Another poke in the eye for those who think the government is a universal benefactor.

And for those of you who think, "Wait, now that we have health reform, it won't cost me anything,"  you don't understand economics.  The company will get their price, the patient will get their drug, and the taxpayer will get the bill.

But you knew that, right?  All that stuff about bending the cost curve; you knew that was hooey, right?

I know you did.  You knew that the relief you feel when standing at the pharmacy cashier, would be balanced by your annual check to the IRS.


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