One of the excuses that drug companies have for charging outrageous prices is that they need to recoup the cost of developing new drugs. This, like many of the statements of the powerful and greedy turns out not to be true in some circumstances. It seems the federal government and taxpayers are paying for the research but not getting a return on their money.
|Why are these men smiling? Well wouldn't you if you got|
the taxpayers to pay for the research that gives you billions?
Enthusiasm for cancer immunotherapy is soaring, and so is Arie Belldegrun’s fortune.
Dr. Belldegrun, a physician, co-founded Kite Pharma, a company that could be the first to market next year with a highly anticipated new immunotherapy treatment. But even without a product, Dr. Belldegrun has struck gold.
His stock in Kite is worth about $170 million. Investors have profited along with him, as the company’s share price has soared to about $50 from an initial price of $17 in 2014.
The results reflect widespread excitement over immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s immune system to attack cancer and has rescued some patients from near-certain death. But they also speak volumes about the value of Kite’s main scientific partner: the United States government.
Kite’s treatment, a form of immunotherapy called CAR-T, was initially developed by a team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute, led by a longtime friend and mentor of Dr. Belldegrun. Now Kite pays several million a year to the government to support continuing research dedicated to the company’s efforts.
Okay, the company is paying several million a year to help fund the research What do they get? Oh, they get tons of money. Yeah, $200k for treatment. It's like a goldmine. the drug companies get thegold, the taxpayer get the shaft.
The company's excuse, they need taxpayer help to develop the drugs. Okay, in capitalism the folks that put up the money get the returns. Except in America, where capitalism means drug companies get the returns, just not the risks.
Kite is one of a growing number of drug and biotech companies relying on federal laboratories. Analysts expect the company to charge at least $200,000 for the new treatment, which is intended as a one-time therapy for patients.
While the law allows the government to demand drug-price concessions from its private-sector partners, the government has declined to do so with Kite and generally disdains the practice.