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The World's Most Expensive Medicines

The Drugs That Cost More Than Your House Vanity Fair


You’ve likely never heard of these drugs, and you won’t find them on the drugstore shelf with the pill bottles. They come in small vials and are injected into the bloodstream to treat rare, “orphan” diseases, which typically afflict fewer than 200,000 Americans. Patients often have no choice but to rely on these six-figure meds because there are few, if any other, options for treatment.



Soliris is the world’s single most expensive drug, at an astronomical $409,500 per patient per year. Alexion Pharmaceuticals developed Soliris to treat a rare blood disease that afflicts about 8,000 Americans.



Elaprase treats Hunter syndrome, a rare metabolic disease that can result in premature death. Roughly 500 Americans, primarily males, are treated annually for the illness.



Naglazyme provides patients of Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome with an important enzyme that their bodies cannot produce. The syndrome can cause excessive enlargement of vital organs, as well as skeletal deformaties. Naglazyme has been shown to help with endurance, offering improved walking and stair-climbing ability to around 1,100 patients worldwide.

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The article does not fail to dig at Obamacare:

Pharmaceutical companies justify these exorbitant prices by the high cost of research required for development. The path to discovering these therapies can be lengthy, dangerous, and expensive. Fortunately, once these valued drugs arrive on the market, insurance can soften the high price tags. But with changes on the horizon under Obamacare, patients may have cause to worry if these drugs will be covered, or if they’ll be facing six figures at the drugstore register.

What is the value of discovering a new medication that no one can afford?  and just because an insurance company pays for it, doesn't mean it's free, the insurance company will get that back some way.  Where do we draw the line with medical costs?  I believe we have to draw it somewhere, or we will continue to spend the most money on healthcare in the world, we need to look at cost to outcome ratios.

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