Good to see Dr James Freeman and the Fix Hep C Buyers Club get a mention on the BBC. It could well encourage more hepatitis c sufferers in the UK to access generics from abroad. Interesting that Gilead bottled out of the chance to put a representative on the programme to defend their pricing policy.
Dr Andrew Hill from Liverpool University put the question effectively: why is a course of medicine that is, to use his words, “fundamentally cheap”, costing £100 to produce, being sold to the very hard-pressed UK National Health Service at a list price of £35,000.
Virginia Acha, the representative from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry failed, IMHO, to convincingly answer either of the two most pertinent questions put to her by the programme presenter, namely: wouldn't it help prevent this kind of high pricing if the length of time of the monopoly granted by a pharmaceutical patent was reduced; and, secondly, if she had hepatitis c, and couldn't access treatment on the NHS because of its high price, wouldn't she join a buyers' club to access patent-free drugs from abroad?