End the duopoly

This healthcare ‘watchdog’ is no friend of coronavirus patients

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Finally, there’s a bit of good news in the fight against COVID-19.

The FDA issued an “emergency use authorization” for remdesivir, an anti-viral drug that could help coronavirus patients recover faster. The medicine isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s the first therapy that has shown success in clinical trials.

Yet one self-styled healthcare watchdog seems determined to rain on the parade. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, better known as ICER, routinely analyzes the “value” that new drugs provide. The organization suggests that insurers should pay as little as $10, and at most $4,460, per 10-day course of treatment. ICER is in no position to act as an arbiter of drug spending — especially at a time like this. COVID-19 has already claimed over 190,000 American lives and cost our country trillions of dollars. Spurring the creation of vaccines and treatments ought to be our top priority. Jawboning drug companies over the cost of therapies isn’t helpful.

Of course, it’s imperative that treatments and vaccines are affordable. But ICER’s report is little more than a publicity stunt, considering that remdesivir’s creator, Gilead Sciences, has already pledged to donate its entire existing supply of the drug. Gilead also entered into agreements with […]

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