Gillian Brien Slams High Cost Of Medicines

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Many health systems in the EU are suffering the consequences of the intellectual property policies that have been foisted on countries by the pharmaceutical sector, according to Gillian Brien, people Before Profit candidate for Dublin in the European elections.

In a statement, she said

‘These Intellectual Property policies are almost exclusively geared towards the maximisation of profits rather than towards ensuring people’s access to quality and affordable treatments.

‘As a result In Europe and worldwide, the prices of new medicines are rapidly rising, creating great financial stress on public health systems.

‘An increasing number of treatments for life-threatening infections and diseases, such as Cancer and Hepatitis C, are unaffordable for both individuals and national health systems.

 ‘Sofosbuvir, for example, is an important medicine used to cure hepatitis C. Currently, in Ireland a full 12-week course costs the HSE €47,361, or €564 per pill, when the full treatment costs just €104 to produce, including a 50% profit.

‘CAR-T Cell Therapy is an emerging immunotherapy for use in the treatment of haematological cancers. Developed with public funds at the University of Pennsylvania, its inventor estimates the production cost of the one-time treatment at $20,000.

‘Swiss drug company Novartis instead set the price at $475,000 for a single infusion, making the treatment one of the most expensive medicines in history.

These examples show how rules over intellectual property are hindering access to important medicines.

‘I will press for a fundamental reform of Intellectual Property rules so that medicines that are developed from public funding are available to all at cost price’