by Victor Roy and Lawrence King
BMJ 2016; 354:i3718 (Published 27 July 2016)
Sofosbuvir based medicines have marked an important breakthrough for patients with hepatitis C infection, offering cure rates of over 90%. Even after discounts offered from a US list price of about US$ 90, 000 (£70 ,000; €80 ,000) per three month treatment course, however, the cost of these drugs, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, has challenged government budgets and led to rationing. The authors use the case of hepatitis C to highlight another dynamic missing from the debate: the financial model driving large companies and their shareholders. This speculative cycle propels the prices of medicines and impedes affordable access for both current and future patients.